September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month
We use this month to raise awareness, reach out to those affected by suicide and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to appropriate treatment services.
This is a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic. It is important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. The feelings of shame and stigma associated with suicide may prevent people from talking openly. However, it is essential to note that having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.
While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth of the matter is we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide. Just one conversation can change a life.
The following provides various data and information about the statistics, warning signs, risk factors, and prevention tips for suicide. It also includes various crisis resources to utilize if needed.
Parents go back to school, like their children.
Parents have to reorganize the house, buy school supplies, buy clothes and uniforms for the kids, buy sport equipment, reorganize schedules, make doctor’s appointments, etc.
Parents have to arrange carpools, take kids to sports practices, games, tutors, homework, bedtimes.
Parents have their own jobs, the house, as well as the children to manage. This can be overwhelming and stressful. And we tend to take care of everyone else first.
It’s summer and…I’M BORED!!!
This is an all too familiar complaint for many parents. Summer is supposed to be laid-back, less stressful, and full of positive feelings, right? However, the transition from a structured schedule to the unstructured days of summer often can be challenging. This is especially true for children with anxiety, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. Summer also tends to have a focus on being more social and this can lead to feelings of isolation for some children who struggle with depression or social challenges.
Here are some tips to be mindful of during the summer months:
DISCLAIMER: This blog is not written by a psychologist with superpowers who has never become frustrated at her children. This blog is written by a real mom who recently caught herself yelling “Stop yelling at your sister!” …and the irony had her thinking, “Hmm. I could blog about that.”
When responding to our children’s negative behaviors, from minor infractions to blatant disobedience, it’s best to leave emotion out of it. If we get too frustrated by our children’s behavior or feel personally offended by it, our response is often more emotional than logical. A bit of mindfulness (being in the present moment without thinking about the past or future) can be useful here. When your child throws a tantrum, the focus should be on this one tantrum, not that it is his fifth tantrum over the past 2 weeks or that you have to get dinner ready in 30 minutes. Responding to the moment without the emotional baggage of what has happened or what needs to happen can free up our resources and allow us to approach the situation—and our children—more rationally.
Humans have communicated via storytelling for thousands of years. Prior to the codification of language, non-verbal acts such as pantomime were used to inspire, educate, and entertain. The advent of language allowed for a more refined method of addressing some of life’s most pressing questions.
Within the process of storytelling, both the teller and the listener are thought to benefit. The former is given an opportunity to share, while the latter may find comfort in the connection. Case in point: my first-ever concert was legendary blues guitarist B.B. King at the long-gone Poplar Creek Music Theater. As was typical, he opened the show with his classic tale of woe, The Thrill Is Gone. As he bellowed such lines as “the thrill is gone away from me / although I’ll still live on / so lonely I will be,” the crowd erupted with cheers of approval as the storyteller put words and melody to a universally relatable feeling.
Recent findings from UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory appear to support this idea. This research team found that when participants were shown photos of angry faces, the region of the brain that prepares us to defend ourselves exhibited increased activity. When participants were then asked to verbally assign descriptive words such as “angry” or “mad” to the images, the same area of the brain appeared to cool. In the words of UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman, “This is ancient wisdom, but now we can verify it with brain mapping.”