Suicide and attempted suicide in a school community is incredibly sad and often unexpected leaving children, staff, and parents with uncertainties on what do next. Students are struggling to cope and the community is struggling with how to respond. Adult support and reassurance is the key to helping children through a traumatic time.
Risk factors of suicide:
- History of prior suicidal attempts or self-injurious behavior
- Current/past psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, psychotic disorders, substance use, ADHD, trauma
Some key symptoms/warning signs and behaviors:
- Giving away possessions
- Writing good-bye letters
- Verbalizing thoughts and intent of suicide:
Precipitants and Stressors leading up to feelings of wanting to end one’s life:
- Triggering events in one’s life (holidays, exposure to traumatic events, etc.)
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Social isolation
- Family turmoil
- Change in psychiatric treatment such as change in medication, discharge from psychiatric hospital
How to address these traumatic events with our children:
- Provide the opportunity with your child to discuss the traumatic event
- Age appropriate answers to their questions are best
- Validate and normalize their feelings and thoughts
- If symptoms and reactions to an attempted or completed suicide do not subside for your child and if you feel your child needs more professional support in coping with the traumatic event, please seek the assistance of trained professionals such as Clinical Social Workers and school-based clinicians.
Hathaway-Sycamores School-Based Services is available on the Pasadena High School campus for drop in as well as ongoing counseling services. They are located in Bungalow #3 (626) 794-7380.
The Pasadena High School counseling team is available for support as well. The Counseling Center is in room A 111 (626) 396-5880 ext. 84029.
For further support, please contact the office of Child Welfare, Attendance, and Safety (626) 360-3600 ext. 88230.