Some Facts About Suicide
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, age 14-24, in the United States – behind only accidents and homicides.
- 4 out of 5 people tell a friend or someone else before they attempt suicide.
- In the United States, a young person commits suicide every 90 seconds.
- Suicide is a permanent solution to what are usually temporary problems.
- People who attempt suicide do not necessarily want to die. They are looking for an end to their pain and they don’t see any other solution.
- The number one trigger for a young person to attempt suicide is the breakup of a significant relationship.
- Talking about suicide does not make someone more likely to attempt suicide.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Most people who are suicidal give clues before they attempt to end their lives. Often, these clues go unnoticed or are ignored. Some of these clues might include:
- Talking about death – any mention of dying, disappearing, people being “better off” without them, or plans for hurting themselves
- Changes in personality – sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, apathetic
- Changes in behavior – trouble concentrating on school, work, or routine tasks; abusing drugs or alcohol; acting impulsively
- Isolation – stop hanging out with friends, drop out of school activities
- Changes in sleep patterns – insomnia, oversleeping, nightmares
- Changes in eating habits – loss of appetite; significant weight gain or loss
- Diminished sexual interest – impotence, lack of desire
- Low self-esteem – feeling worthless, shame, guilt, or self-hatred
- Feelings of hopelessness – believing that things will never get better or that nothing will change
- A sudden lift of depression – someone who’s been feeling depressed who suddenly seems very calm and happy. This calm, happy feeling could be because they’ve made up their mind that they’re going to kill themselves and, thus, know the pain is going to end.
What to Do if You Suspect Someone May Be Suicidal
- Always take suicidal comments very seriously.
- Try not to act shocked.
- Validate your friend’s feeling by being non-judgmental and non-confrontational.
- Listen to your friend and be as understanding as possible. Help them see that there are other options besides suicide.
- Allow your friend to express emotions in any way he/she wants (crying, yelling, cursing, etc). However, do not allow your friend to become violent or hurt himself or herself.
- Do not be afraid to talk to someone about suicide. Talking about suicide will not encourage someone to kill himself or herself. However, it is best to focus on what the person is feeling rather than trying to talk them out of it.
- Do not try to handle the situation by yourself. A suicidal person needs assistance from qualified mental health professionals. Give them Long Island Crisis Center’s hotline number: 516-679-1111 and website: www.licconline.org and/or encourage your friend to speak with a parent, teacher, or counselor.
- If your friend has a plan to commit suicide, you must immediately tell someone who can intervene. In some cases you may need to call 911.
- If someone tells you that you need to keep his or her suicidal intentions a secret, you must never keep that “secret.” Although you may feel like you are violating your friend’s trust, you may very well be saving their life by getting them help. You always have the chance to repair that friendship. If they kill themselves, you will never have that chance.
- Because suicidal feelings may come and go, you should follow up with your friend on a regular basis to make sure he or she is doing okay. If your friend becomes suicidal again, take immediate action to help him or her get help.
Some Facts About Depression
- Clinical depression is a serious illness that affects a person’s family, friends, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health.
- Depression affects approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year.
- Two-thirds of people suffering depression do not seek treatment.
- Without treatment, a major depressive episode lasts an average of 6 months.
- 90% of people with depression will experience multiple depressive episodes in their life.
- Approximately 3% of depressed people will commit suicide.
- Depression can be successfully treated with talk-therapy, anti-depressants, and certain life-style changes.
- Treatment can reduce the chance of having another depressive episode by up to 70%.
Causes of Depression
Unfortunately, it is not fully known what causes depression. A number of theories turn to genetic and biological factors, environmental influences, and childhood or developmental events. Depression is most often caused by the influence of more than just one or two factors. The causes of depression are likely to be different for different people. Whatever the causes, depression can be effectively treated.
Symptoms of Depression
Only a licensed mental health professional can make a diagnosis for someone who is depressed. However, some of the symptoms people with depression experience include:
- Sad, lonely, empty, and detached mood
- Feeling meaningless and unreal (not really being there)
- Loss of interest of pleasure in nearly all activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling “slowed down”
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Changes in sleeping (oversleeping and/or insomnia)
- Changes in sexual behavior (loss of interest or hypersexuality)
- Physical aches and pains (e.g. headaches, flu-like symptoms)
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide
What to Do if You Suspect Someone May Be Depressed
- Learn as much as you can about depression.
- Ask your friend about what they are going though in a non-confrontational way.
- Let your friend know that depression is an illness that can be treated.
- Do not try to become their therapist – instead, listen, support, encourage, and “be there” for them.
- When talking with your friend, keep the focus on how they are feeling. Do not try to make them feel better by downplaying what is upsetting them.
- Encourage your friend to speak to a parent, teacher, or school counselor.
- If your friend has a plan to commit suicide, you must tell someone and try to get them help.
- Give them Long Island Crisis Center’s hotline number: 516-679-1111 and website: www.licconline.org
Some Facts About Rage
- Everyone gets angry. However, not everyone experiences the heightened anger that comes with feelings of rage.
- Internalized rage is often described as “depression toward inward.”
- As many as 16 million people in the United States suffer from “intermittent explosive disorder” (IED) – which involves outbursts that are unwarranted for a given situation.
- Rage can cause physical health problems. The increases in stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure that accompany rage can weaken one’s immune system and lead to other health problems (including persistent headaches, heart disease, and cancer).
- Rage can lead to emotional problems. If the feelings underlying one’s rage are left unchecked, they can lead to depression, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and other psychological problems.
- Rage can cause relationship problems. To a friend, family member, or partner, an uncontrolled outburst aimed at them is unfair at best, and terrifying at worst. Rather than addressing a problem, rage drives a wedge between people and blocks communication. Rage can also cause both people in the relationship to experience feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety, and sadness.
Signs of Rage
Some of the feelings and behaviors listed below may naturally occur in anyone faced with an upsetting or threatening situation. However, people with rage will experience them more frequently and to a greater extent than what would be expected.
- Feelings of all-consuming and uncontrollable anger
- Threats of violence against oneself or others
- Constantly getting into fights and/or hurting others
- Destroying things of sentimental or monetary value
- Harming animals (e.g. kicking the dog when angry)
- Impulsive aggressiveness that seems to come out of nowhere
- Reoccurring thoughts about hurting or killing yourself or others
- Reoccurring revenge fantasies
- Trouble with concentration, motivation, or decision making
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Feelings of depression, worthlessness, apathy, or low self-esteem
- Frequent trouble with law enforcement
- Changes in sleeping, eating, or sexual behavior
How to Help Someone Who Suffers From Rage
- If you are close to someone who experiences rage, it is important to make sure you are safe. Never stay with someone who becomes physically violent.
- If someone has an angry outburst, it is important that you try to remain calm.
- Never approach someone with an offer to help if he or she is experiencing an outburst.
- Rage is a deep form of pain. Trying to understand how the person feels may be helpful.
- Express concern for the person with rage and listen to what they have to say without being judgmental or confrontational.
- It is best to focus on the feelings a person with rage is experiencing rather than focusing on their behavior.
- Anger management programs can help a person with rage control his or her behavior.
- Therapy can help a person with rage understand and overcome the emotional pain that underlies their rage.
- Ultimately, it is up to the person with rage to overcome it within him or herself. You are not responsible for their behavior or lack of progress in getting help.
- Encourage a person with rage to speak to someone about what they are going through. Give them Long Island Crisis Center’s hotline number: 516-679-1111 and website: www.licconline.org
Some Facts About Self-Injury
- Self-injury (also called “self-mutilation” or “cutting”) is the deliberate physical harm to one’s body in order to express or distract oneself from painful emotions.
- Examples of self-injury include cutting, scratching, burning, hitting oneself, and pulling one’s hair.
- People who self-injure come from all walks of life and all social / economic backgrounds.
- The average age a person begins self-injuring is 15.
- Approximately 14% of high school students in the United States engage in self-injury.
- People who self-injure are not necessarily suicidal. However, self-injury is only a temporary fix to painful emotions. Eventually, the feelings the person is trying to escape will come back. If not addressed, the intense emotions at the root of the behavior can lead to suicidal thoughts.
- Self-injury can become addictive.
- Self-injury is not a “cry for attention.” Most people who self-injure go to great lengths to hide their wounds and scars and make excuses for their injuries that are visible.
- As much as 60% of people with eating disorders also self-injure.
- Self-injury is 7 times more likely in children who have been sexually abused.
Warning Signs of Self-Injury
Only a licensed mental health professional can make a diagnosis for someone who self-injures. However, warning signs that someone is injuring themselves include:
- Unexplained frequent injuries – including cutting and burns
- Wearing long-sleeves in warm weather
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty handling emotions
- Relationship problems
- Poor functioning at work, school, or home
What to Do if You Suspect Someone May Be Self-Injuring
- Ask them about it in a non-confrontational way.
- Try to remain non-judgmental and refrain from negative comments.
- Let the person talk about their feelings.
- Let them know that there are other ways to deal with the emotions they have.
- Offer to help them get the help they need.
- Give them Long Island Crisis Center’s hotline number: 516-679-1111 and website: www.licconline.org
Domestic Violence - View PSA
If you are witnessing domestic violence in your home, it is important to know that…
- No one deserves to be abused or mistreated in any way.
- You are not to blame – it is not your fault.
- Your parent needs help in controlling their anger – it doesn’t mean that he or she is a bad person
- You cannot stop the violence on your own. Usually a person who abuses needs help to stop.
- It is okay to be confused about how you feel toward your parent(s).
- It is very important to tell a trusted adult about what is going on.
- If you are also being abused, there is an agency that is designed to protect you. Find out more information today by calling Long Island Crisis Center: 516-679-1111.
Some facts about child witnesses of domestic violence:
- You are not alone. It is estimated that every year 3.3 million children in the United States witness domestic violence.
- Studies show that children who witness domestic violence can suffer with anxiety, aggression, depression, and temperamental issues.
- Most adults who abuse their partners witnessed domestic violence growing up in their homes.
- Without outside help, domestic violence usually gets worse.
- Domestic violence can happen anywhere, in any town, at any time. If you are living in a dangerous situation, speak to a counselor at your school or call Long Island Crisis Center to get support and learn about what kinds of help are available.
HIV - View PSA
Know the facts:
- 1 in 4 sexually active teenagers will contract an STI (sexually transmitted infection).
- Adolescents make up half of all new HIV infections.
- Most teenagers who are infected don’t know it.
- Heterosexual sex is the primary mode of HIV transmission worldwide.
- HIV rates are particularly high among African American and Hispanic gay and bisexual men. As many as 1 in 3 young gay African Americans are living with HIV. In the United States, HIV/AIDS is the number one cause of death for both men and women of color between the ages of 22-45.
- Women now account for half of all the world’s HIV cases.
- Alcohol and drug use can increase your risk of contracting HIV because they impair your ability to make healthy decisions – such as using protection during sex.
- Young gay and bisexual men are at higher risk of contracting Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Hepatitis is a virus that can have serious health consequences – even death.
- Lesbian and bisexual women can contract HIV and STD’s as well – through sharing needles for drugs, being sexually active with men, through oral sex, and through sharing sex toys.
How you can take control:
- Get tested. Early treatment saves lives. HIV testing is offered free and anonymously at the NY State Department of Health HIV Testing Clinic. Pride for Youth also offers free HIV testing.
- Use latex barriers (condoms and dental dams) every time you have sex (vaginal, anal, and oral).
- Get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B. Young gay and bisexual men are at high-risk for these life-threatening viruses.
- Limit the number of people you have sex with and get to know your sexual partners better.
- Sharing needles can spread HIV and many other disease. Use a new, sterilized needle every time or clean needles with bleach and water before each use.
- Make sex safer by choosing low-risk activities – like mutual masturbation.
- Have sex with a monogamous partner who is disease-free. Get tested together, but remember that the results of risky sexual experiences within 3 months may not show up.
- Abstinence is a 100% safe way to avoid HIV and STI transmission.
Coming Out - View PSA
COMING OUT as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender isn’t easy…
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender:
- There are many resources out there for you. Remember, you are not alone.
- Talk to somebody if you’re feeling shame or embarrassment or having trouble in school or with friends and family.
- There is no way to “look” or “act” gay. Most gay people do not conform to stereotypes.
- Some studies suggest that up to 10% of the population identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
- Feeling isolated or alone can make you emotionally and physically exhausted.
When you come out to someone:
- They may not accept the fact that you are gay right away. It is important to remember that you too went through stages of acceptance of your own sexuality. It might take others some time to process this news as well.
- People will react in many different ways – depending on their own experiences. You may want to assess their feelings about homosexuality before confiding in them.
There are no formal guidelines for coming out:
- There is no set time for when you should come out – it may take a day, a year, or even a lifetime. Coming out is not always the answer. Some people choose to remain silent about their sexuality and still remain true to themselves.
- Growing up in a different culture can affect the process of coming out. Find support groups on the Internet or by calling Long Island Crisis Center.
If you are not gay but…
- You may know someone who is: The best way to be supportive is to remember that this does not change who they are and shouldn’t change the way you act around them.
- You know someone who might be: You need to make it apparent that you would be accepting of the news. You can show support by voicing your positive opinions about gay rights and organizations like Gay-Straight Alliances or youth centers like Pride For Youth. Never try to force the issue – they need to be ready to come out
Facts about cyber bullying:
- Cyber bullying is aggravated harassment transmitted through technological means, such as emails, text messages, cell phone communications, or social networking sites.
- 42% of young people have been bullied while online.
- 35% of young people have been threatened while online.
- 58% of young people admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online and the same percentage admit that they have not told their parents or an adult that this happened.
- Cyber bullying is more damaging than in-person bullying because cyber bullying follows people into the home, which would normally be considered a safe haven from this type of activity.
Internet safety tips for kids:
- Never give out personal information online, whether in instant message profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or personal websites.
- Never tell anyone but your parents your password, even friends.
- If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don't respond. Save it or print it out and show it to an adult.
- Never open emails from someone you don't know or from someone you know is a bully.
- Don't put anything online that you wouldn't want your classmates to see, even in email.
- Don't send messages when you're angry. Before clicking "send," ask yourself how you would feel if you received the message.
- Help kids who are bullied online by not joining in.
- Always be as polite online as you are in person.
If you feel that you are being threatened or bullied:
- Let your parents know so they can try to stop the bullying.
- Save the messages and pictures as evidence.
- Try to identify the cyber bully.
- If the cyber bully is someone from your school, make your school administrators aware of the problem.
- Ignore the offender and contact an adult immediately.
- Never engage with the person who is threatening you as that is only encouragement for the behaviors to continue.
- Ask an adult to contact the police if the cyber bullying involves threats of violence, obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages, harassment, stalking or hate crimes.
- Use built-in measures on certain websites, such as ignoring or reporting someone else.
- If the cyber bullying is done via e-mail or cell phone from a particular account, you can block future messages from that account.
- Call a hotline to discuss your feelings or speak to your school counselor.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Some warning signs that a child might be the victim of cyber bullying:
- Long hours on the computer.
- Secretive about internet activities.
- Won’t disclose who they are talking to online.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Headaches and stomach aches.
- Crying for no apparent reason.
- Complaints of illness before school or other social events.
- Lowered self-esteem.
- Acting out aggression at home.
- Frequent visits to the school nurse and wanting to leave school.
What adults can do about cyber bullying:
- Keep your home computer in plain view.
- Talk regularly with your children about their online activities.
- Talk specifically about cyber bullying and encourage your children to come to you if they feel victimized.
- Explain the harm involved in cyber bullying someone else, and outline your expectations for responsible online behavior and the consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Consider installing parental control software and tracking programs.