Over 150 parents and students attended the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) Parent University class “13 Reasons Why Not – Preventing Teen Suicide” on February 5 at Marina High School. The class, presented by Wellness Specialists Kylie Bernstein and Kayla Perkoski, shared important information about preventing teen suicide—a topic that has gained media attention due to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
“There is this myth that people who talk about suicide will not actually do it,” said Bernstein. “However, four out of five people who have attempted suicide, have talked about it.”
The presentation included information on how to recognize warning signs, risk factors, ways to respond, and available resources. Dr. Dan Bryan, Director of Student Services, was also on hand to help facilitate questions from parents and students.
Below is some of the information and resources distributed during the presentation.
- Person talks about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, being a burden to others, etc.
- Concerning behaviors such as: increased use of drugs/alcohol, decline in academic performance, withdrawing from friends & family, giving away possessions, calling/texting to say goodbye, writing a suicide note, searching for ways to end his/her life
- Person feeling depressed, irritable, angry, anxious, humiliated, etc.
- Preoccupation with death and dying in conversations, social media, art, writing
- Sudden changes in appearance, hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings
- Mental Health factors: depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia
- Substance abuse problems
- Chronic health conditions or diagnosis of a serious condition
- Traumatic brain injury
- Access to drugs, firearms, etc.
- Prolonged stress at work, from bullying, relationship problems
- Exposure to someone else’s suicide or seeing/hearing graphic information about suicide
- Stressful life event – grief, divorce, losing a job
- Family history of suicide or previous attempts by the individual
- History of abuse or trauma
Parent Support to Promote Protective Factors
Minimize Conflict – Set limits, but the rest of the time focus on the positive connections. Parents have the opportunity to reassure struggling kids that they won’t feel like this forever, and you can help do this by promoting positive experiences. When kids feel suicidal it’s often because they feel hopeless and can’t imagine things being better.
Spend Quality Time with Them – Set aside time each day to talk—time when you’re focused totally on your teen. The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in promoting teen’s mental health.
Help Them Find Effective Coping Strategies – Encourage them to utilize positive, healthy coping skills like music, exercise, writing, art, being involved in a sport or club, etc. Try not to take away any of their positive coping skills as a means of punishment for poor grades or bad behavior.
Allow Access to Mental Health Support – If you see that your teen is struggling, don’t hesitate to offer support from a professional early on. Contact your insurance to see which therapists/psychologists are within your network or reach out to support staff at school.
|National Suicide Prevention: 800-273-8255
Free – 24/7 – English/Spanish – Confidential
|Crisis Text Line: Text SAFE (7233) to 741-741
Free – Confidential
|Crisis Assessment Team OC: 866-830-6011
(will visit individual homes with the support of local law enforcement)
|Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center: 877-727-4747
|CA Youth Crisis Line: 800-843-5200|
|Students anonymously report safety concerns, bullying & suspicious behavior|
|EHS TipTxt: 714-462-4793|
|FVHS Safe 2 Speak: Go to FVHS.com > “Students” tab > Safe 2 Speak form|
|HBHS Text to Tip: 714-462-4789|
|OVHS Text to Tip: 714-462-4792|
|WHS We Tip: 1-800-78-CRIME|
|For emergency situations, please call 911.|