As a suicide prevention community, one of our primary goals is increasing public awareness and educating people about suicide. There are many good documents that provide evidence-based recommendations for creating safe and effective messages to raise public awareness that suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem. The SPRC, National Action Alliance, AFSP, SAMSHA and many others have put forth guidelines to help us with awareness campaigns, as well as educational and training efforts in the community. All agree that there are definite Dos and Don'ts. In addition to message content, we also need to think about our targeted audiences and the best ways to reach them-i.e.-internet, social media platforms, places of work and worship, etc.
The current national dialogue about mass shootings and gun control has placed a new focus on the mental health of individuals who commit these atrocities. This focus builds on the stigma attached to mental illness, leading people to avoid treatment and diagnosis for fear of being labeled a public threat. Not only is it stigmatizing to suggest that mental illness leads to violence, it is also false: the leading common behavior among individuals who commit these acts is not mental illness, but rather a repeated trend of previous violent behavior. Shifting the dialogue to a new standard, "Dangerousness, Not Diagnosis" may help reduce the stigma of diagnosis and also allow this important component in identifying violent behavior be utilized effectively in the gun control efforts enacted by our legislature.
Chris Lazarus is the Assistant Director of Operations, Online and Bilingual Services at Response Crisis Center. Recently, she partnered with Michelle Kuchuk, M.S Best Practices in Clinical Technologies at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and shared with us a few tips for maintaining a trusting tone with an individual in need of guidance and support on a digital chatline. As Chris and Michelle point out, there are many parts of human interaction that get 'lost-in-digital-translation', whether it be posture, facial expressions, or other nonverbal cues, operating the digital chatline is a delicate process that demands a gentle approach to expression and an even more dynamic approach to listening and understanding.
New York has taken the lead on enforcing mental health education in elementary, middle, and high schools. On July 1, 2018, New York schools will be required to administrate educational classes that provide a wide range of resources and skills that help students recognize, cope with, and understand potential mental health concerns.
This blog post comes to you at a time when many of us try to slow down and appreciate the longer summer days. Many of us wish we could slow down time altogether and, we often hear the lament that as we grow older, time seems to pass more quickly. This is especially true during the summer season - which feels so fleeting.
While it is vacation time for many, we are busy gearing up for September – National Suicide Prevention Month.
After months of hard work, dedication and collaboration, we are delighted to officially announce the launch of Response Crisis Center’s rebrand.
At Response Crisis Center, our vision was to create a strong trusted, identity; provide our community with a safe place to turn in crisis, and offer suicide prevention information and assistance when needed. To reinforce our mission to create an extensive online resource, we’ve made Response accessible on mobile, desktop, and tablet– providing an immediate connection to our counselors on hundreds of devices. Response Crisis Center now promotes a clear, coherent message of suicide counseling and awareness to a wider demographic, across a multitude of platforms.
What is the connection between comedy and tragedy? Is the answer hidden in the juxtaposition of human emotion; in that, to know happiness, must you know sadness, and vice versa? It is often said that adverse experiences can make us more resilient; is it possible humor plays a role in strengthening our ability to cope with struggle? Why is it that some of the world’s funniest comedians, whose lives are dedicated to making us smile, laugh, and even question our own moral integrity, sometimes leave us in the most tragic of ways?
At Response Crisis Center, we recognize that both comedy and tragedy are connected, and we appreciate the important healing qualities that humor has on our physical and mental health.
Thirteen Reasons Why (13RW) is a Netflix series adaptation of the book of the same name by Jay Asher. The series revolves around a high school student named Clay, who receives a series of tapes recorded by his recently deceased classmate and crush, Hannah Baker, which are about the 13 reasons why she died by suicide. Since its release on March 31st, it has grown in popularity among primarily middle school and high school students.
The series has prompted a strong negative reaction among many experts in the field of suicide prevention. Concerns center around the potential for young viewers to identify with Hannah and see suicide as a valid way to cope with life's challenges. Experts emphasize that this sends a dangerous message and that, in fact, suicide is not a common response to adversity and that most people with suicidal thoughts reach out for help (which should be encouraged) and that help is effective and available.
As Executive Director of Response Crisis Center, I’ve always been proud of my center’s capacity to respond to community needs — thus, our name: RESPONSE. However, our ability to respond to the complex needs of one our county’s 72 school districts was tested this past November when we learned of the second of two student suicides from one high school within a three week period.
Following the second suicide, the district angered the community through several missteps. For example, they held a school-wide assembly focused on bullying which left children feeling blamed and confused. Response’s Training Coordinator, a parent in the school district, reached out to administrative and mental health staff to advise them of our experience in postvention work. What ensued was the most challenging and rewarding six weeks of my career.