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Letter: Critical skills

Our small community has been rocked again by the suicide of another teenager. Most of us can’t begin to imagine the pain felt by the families and friends left behind. But I’m sure that most of us do feel the need to try to prevent more teen suicides if we possibly can. Did you know that there ARE skills and tools that can keep people with suicidal thoughts and desires from actually taking suicidal action? I’m sure most of our kids don’t know these skills. Why aren’t we teaching them?

The book, “How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me,” by Susan Rose Blauner, teaches these skills. This book should be read by anyone who is or has been suicidal, as well as the families and friends who want to understand and help them, mental health and school professionals, and soon, I hope, it will be read by our teenagers. We live in a world where our kids can find out online how to hang themselves, cut themselves, or “successfully” be anorexic or bulimic. Shouldn’t skills like how NOT to kill yourself (or how to help your friends NOT kills themselves) be just as readily available to them?

Susan Blauner’s book is available in bookstores and online. I hope it will soon be available in every high school in our area. (I recently bought two copies for my son’s high school.) Having those books available in the school library is good. But it’s far more important to ensure that teens know that what they FEEL is not always what is REAL, and that they know how to create and use a safety plan if they, or a friend, need one. The author speaks and gives workshops all over the country. And she’s local! I’m sure she could be called upon to teach her life-saving skills to the teens in our schools as well. Someone has got to.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those lost to suicide. And I look forward to working with others to prevent more suicides among our precious youth.



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