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Kavita Cardoza, for the American online publication NPR

Every day in the US, thousands of teenagers trying to commit suicide: it is the worst result of the struggle with a variety of mental health problems, which are millions of children in this country. Schools, as well as parents and physicians play a critical role to identify children who are at risk. One of the biggest problems – the myths that may hamper the understanding of what is happening.

“People are generally afraid of the topic, – says David Jobs , head of the Laboratory for the Prevention of Suicide at the Catholic University. – There remains a sense of understatement, “untouchable” topics “.

Jobs notes that one of the most popular and the most dangerous myths about the suicides is a myth, which states that young children just do not kill themselves.

It is not true.

Every year, children kill themselves, which was barely five years old. More myths? Suicide – a spontaneous decision made in the heat of the moment.

And it’s not true.

Doctor Jobs notes that children can weeks to think about their death and to plan it. And then, he stressed the important role to play school.

“They made it clear to friends, hinting write compositions in which this idea can read English teacher, something the coach said,” – says Jobs. The only thing that will never make a teenager who is planning a suicide – he will not share with their parents.

We asked Steve Jobs to tell us about the main misconceptions associated with suicides.

Myth 1.

If you talk with someone about suicide, it will lead to suicidal thoughts.

In our society, our culture and a lot of problems and disputes related to mental health. These topics are stigmatized, and suicide – one of the most painful topics. As if better to shut up, do not touch this issue, shove it under the rug – and this is a matter of saving lives. We should just ask, we have to intervene, if we really want to save someone’s life. It is necessary to talk about this right. “You lost heart, you think about how to commit suicide?”. Yes, like this head-on. The more open the better.

Myth 2.

The cause of all suicides – depression.

This is simply not true. Depression in millions of Americans. And only a small number of them brings their own lives. A very small number. Depression and suicide – are not synonymous.

On average, every day more than a hundred Americans die as a result of suicide. Of these, 40-50 are depressed. Other diagnoses may be indicative of – schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, depending on a variety of anxiety disorders. It’s not just depression.

Myth 3.

We can not prevent suicide.

We know that the correct recognition, appropriate support and treatment to prevent suicide, we can make a difference and save lives. Basically, suicidal people who talk about suicide do not actually want to die. In their communication, emanating from them warning signals in the hints you can see that they do not want to commit suicide, but it is necessary to surrounding able to see these signs and help correct.

Undoubtedly, one of these characters is a depression … and loss of concentration. People are different from themselves. A risk factor is also insomnia. Other warning signals may be irritability, detachment. And a very important aspect: we can observe these symptoms in many people who do not think of suicide. In fact, it all adds up in the human mind, and then he begins to think: “The only way to deal with all the troubles – it’s suicide.”

Myth 4.

Suicides always occur spontaneously, under the spur of the moment.

People ponder, reflect, imagine the situation, imagine, write suicide notes, make posts on the Internet. After many days or weeks, perhaps, they will make a tragic attempt. There is a very serious study on the subject, stating that suicides are not spontaneous at all. There is always a story that will unearth.

The solution can be sudden, but this happens very rarely. Very few people, especially among the youth and students, would not communicate their intentions. However, this is an exception. They will hint to a friend, write essays, in which the teacher will read these thoughts, talk to teachers and coaches. When people start talking suicide, do not think that a false alarm. It’s very serious.

“It is very important that the children say the children, because it is trusted peers. Usually the parents do not speak, because of the recognition should be extremely negative reaction until the punitive measures. Therefore, it is the school must try to convey to children that talking to friends – it’s great, but if you really consider yourself a friend of this man, be silent about such serious issues as suicide – hardly an example of a good friendship. This information should be transferred to the teachers or principal, or school psychologist, ie people who can attract professional help. ”

Myth 5.

Young children, from 5 to 12 years, do not think about suicide.

Young children take their own lives. In the US each year commit suicide between 30 and 35 children under 12 years.

For most of us it is difficult to imagine that very young children aged 5, 6, 7 years old actually know what it means, “I want to kill myself.” We conducted research with young children and know that they do sometimes say these words. They say it sincerely and sometimes commit suicide. More often than not run out on the roadway, they are hit by a car. We know little about the suicides of young children. The literature on suicide prevention, starting from the age of 12-14 years. That is, even from the point of view of professional literature young children supposedly can not commit suicide. And this is not the case.

Myth 6.

When there was a suicide, well convene a general meeting of the whole school.

In the scientific literature and professional environment there is a perception that postventsii, ie assistance after the suicide, which occurred in the school should be to find a model of behavior that does not lead to bloating of the situation, to the other children did not want to follow the example of the victim.

We know that children and young people are influenced easily, are particularly susceptible to peer pressure teens. From the point of view of development is normal. Therefore, one of the problems that worried us in the children’s behavior – this is the effect of imitation or simulation of the effect. In the school system of the child, who seemed almost invisible, she commits suicide, and suddenly everyone is talking about this horrible incident.

And now the other children, who are watching the whole situation from the side, can say, “Wow, I can also do such things.” It is the nature of suicidal thinking child – they are not contemplating about suicide in a rational manner. And it is in such a situation the most dangerous becomes the modeling effect. And we begin to worry about the entire Group, on the effect of the infection.

On the other hand, the situation can not be released on the brakes. We try to keep the golden mean, when the incident discussed, provided all the necessary information and resources, but the school is at full strength is not going to the funeral.

It is not necessary to organize a general meeting and, where about suicide will tell professionals. These conversations should be done in small groups, especially when it comes to children, whose suicide has affected to a greater extent. Therefore, mass edifying event is not necessary, and it is in the interest of the school. And certainly it is not the best way to prevent imitation and other suicides.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ) has written a very useful guide that are designed specifically for schools. There are the resources and the American Association suicidology ( of The American Association of Suicidology ). Through these associations, you can gain access to the extensive literature that describes the best practices of the school postventsii.

There is a lot of research on how to deal with modeling effect to a single tragic event has not added new suicide.

It is necessary to control the situation, to read about the problem and to debunk myths about suicide, prevailing among children and adults. The main thing to remember that suicide can be prevented. Professional help is available. Sensitivity and attention we can.

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