Monday, November 13, 2006


From an anonymous teacher-friend.

Welcome to the top 10 things NOT to say while educating teens about suicide:
  • 10. How many people don't want to be here right now?
  • 9. I had a lot of fun being a suicide hotline responder.
  • 8. Depression happens to everyone. It just lasts longer for some people.
  • 7. People deciding whether to be homosexual instead of heterosexual might want to kill themselves.
  • 6. You're supposed to have many, many boyfriends or girlfriends at this age. When you break up with someone, you'll probably find someone new in 2-3 days. That's your job at this stage in your life.
  • 5. Another group of people who think about suicide are people who just can't get over being sexually or physically abused.
  • 4. Teenagers who lose a loved one might think, "If only I could see that person up in heaven and talk with them one more time." But what they don't realize is that they can't come back and tell us all how wonderful it was to talk to them.
  • 3. If you aren't involved at church, you're more likely to think about suicide.
  • 2. If you know of someone thinking about suicide, tell Mrs. X. [Gee, thanks. You're the one with the psychology degree.]
  • 1. Raise your hand if you've ever been humiliated.

    Disclaimer: A former student of mine hanged himself. I think about what could I have done to prevent it, what warning signs did I miss, what could I have told the class that would give him solace. I still don't know. I do know that talking about suicide to teenagers is very hard. You don't want to say something that will reinforce reasons teens commit suicide--e.g. everyone will feel really bad and miss you so much.

    Some people are of the opinion that adults should simply avoid sensitive topics (suicide, drugs, sex, etc.) because it just gives kids bad ideas. I'm not one of those people. However, I think talking about these topics appropriately is extremely important. A bad lecture about suicide, for example, might be worse than no lecture at all.


    Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3:52 AM  
    Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

    Okay, so what are the top ten things one SHOULD say to a suicidal teenager?

    Because to me, some of those things look like valid things to say. In fact, I said a variation of #8 last night to my son.

    edited to correct item number

    7:11 AM  
    Blogger Jessica said...

    BP, I don't know. I wish I did.

    7:57 PM  
    Blogger mal said...

    I wish I knew how to deal with this topic. My college roomie had a mother and 2 brothers suicide within a 3 year period. It was a devastating experience for her.

    How can we deal with it? More importantly, help those who are standing on the edge?

    5:43 AM  

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