So Why Hasn’t This Been Done Already?

Blog Post #8

The topic of depression and suicide can be very controversial. Many people believe that depression and suicide are serious problems, but others do not believe that depression is a real illness; instead they view it as a sign of weakness. A depression awareness and suicide prevention program would help to teach those individuals who do not understand depression and do not believe that it is a real problem that it is in fact real and affects many people. A depression awareness and suicide prevention program is needed in Virginia pubic high schools, but cannot happen as long as there is resistance to the program, as well as depression itself.

One of the strongest points of resistance that the implementation of a required awareness and prevention program would run into would be resistance from parents who are not educated in the subject themselves. An awareness and prevention program would be implemented through health classes that each student attends. Parents who do not believe that depression is a serious or real problem might be opposed to their student participating in the program and think of it as a waste of time. These parents could then write to or petition the school board to try and shut the program down. This particular problem is one that continues with generations. Parents do not believe that depression is a real problem and do not receive education on it, such as the aforementioned program, so their opinions are never changed. They then go on to teach their children the same beliefs that they have about depression and as long as there continues to be a lack of education in the area the cycle will continue. This program could solve the problem but will never get a chance if the opposition from parents is too strong.

Aside from the resistance by parents, the next level of resistance will most likely be institutional. The institutional resistance may come from health teachers or from policy makers. Health teachers may be resistant because they would have to add more to their curriculum and teach more in the same amount of time they were allotted before. They would also have to teach a subject that can be a pretty sensitive for some students, which might make the teachers uncomfortable. Policy makers might be resistant because they would have to design and implement the program and make sure that it is working properly and being taught properly. They might also be concerned because they do not want to be held liable if they implement an awareness and prevention program and then something bad happens to a student anyway. In this case a parent could get upset and blame them for making the program and teaching it to students but it not being affective because of what happened to their student. The final aspect of institutional resistance might be resistance concerning money. Although this program would not require a large amount of money because it is not a physical project such as constructing a new building, it would require some money in order to pay the person who designs the program and to provide any materials (such as new books) to schools. Some people may feel as though this money could be better spent elsewhere or go towards a bigger project.

Although there are several types of resistance facing this project it is still worth considering. This resistance can be combatted and an effective program can be put in place that will help students to better understand depression and suicide, and hopefully lower suicide rates in Virginia public high schools.

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Nov 2013
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The Beginning Steps Towards Change

Blog Post #7

Depression awareness and suicide prevention programs are not required in Virginia public high schools. This is problematic because these programs give students information on depression and suicide and how to help others who are depressed. Awareness and prevention programs have also been shown to help decrease suicidal tendencies in high school students (King, Strunk, and Sorter). High school is the age at which many students are first exposed to depression and suicide in their personal lives, so participating in a depression awareness and suicide prevention program could greatly benefit them at this point in their life.

As someone who had a depressed friend in high school and struggled with how to help them, I believe a depression awareness and suicide prevention program would be really helpful to high school students. When I was in high school I continually tried to help my friend but nothing I said ever really seemed to help much. It would have been really beneficial to me and I’m sure to other students as well (there were five suicides in my high school in the time I was there) to have gone through a depression awareness and suicide prevention program in high school. Implementing awareness and prevention programs in public high schools in Virginia will help to prevent tragedies, like those that occurred in my high school, from happening in the future.

The first step towards implementing a depression awareness and suicide prevention program would be to figure out what information it should contain. The goal of the program is to help high school students understand depression better and be able to get help for someone else or themselves should they need it. So, ideally this program would continue to teach the definition of depression and its symptoms, but would go more in depth to explain how a depressed person feels. Getting high school students who have never been depressed to understand how a depressed person feels will be one of the hardest parts of teaching an awareness and prevention program because it is hard for people to empathize with a feeling they have never experienced. This program should also teach students effective ways to communicate with someone who is depressed that will be productive and actually help the person suffering from depression. Finally, the program should help students to be confident when going to an adult for help. This includes teaching them how to recognize suicidal symptoms in a friend and making them realize that it is better to go to an adult for help and have a friend be angry rather than lose that friend for good.

The second step would be to determine how to implement this program in schools. The program could be included in health classes or it could be introduced as a new required class. There are pros and cons to both options. The pros for implementing the program through health classes are that health class is already required for all high school students so it wouldn’t add another class for students to try and fit in before graduation. The cons are that since health teachers aren’t specifically trained in this area they might continue to gloss over it like they already do, or they may not be effective at teaching it so students will not benefit from it. The pros for implementing the program as a new class are that the people teaching it would be specialized to teach the information and so it would probably benefit the students more than the previous option. The cons are that students already have so many classes to take before graduation they might have trouble fitting it into their schedule. The most realistic way to implement the program is probably through health classes.

The third step to implementing this program would be to determine what the extra cost would be to design the program and for materials needed to implement it. The two main costs would be to pay whoever designs the program and to pay for textbooks that include the information for the program. These costs shouldn’t be too extreme but might cause some resistance.

These three steps are the basis the implementation of a depression awareness and suicide prevention program in Virginia high schools that would really benefit students and potentially reduce the number of suicides in high schools.

Works Cited

King, Keith, A., Catherine, M. Strunk, and Michael, T. Sorter. “Preliminary         Effectiveness             Of Surviving The Teens Suicide Prevention And Depression         Awareness Program             On Adolescents’ Suicidality And Self-Efficacy In   Performing Help-Seeking Behaviors.” Journal Of School Health 81.9 (2011): 581-590. CINHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

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Nov 2013
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So What’s Wrong With the Program We Currently Have?

Blog #6

In public high school health classes in Virginia depression and suicide are introduced and defined. Students are taught just enough about the signs and symptoms that they know that depression exists and have a basic understanding of what it is. Depression and mental health disorders get glossed over so that teachers can move on to the next item on the very long list of health concerns they are required to teach. Depression is a serious health disorder that around 11.2 percent of adolescents suffer from (“Major Depressive Disorder in Children”). However, many others who do not personally suffer from depression are affected by it because they know someone who suffers from it, or have been unfortunate enough to be part of a community in which a peer committed suicide. Depression and suicide affect all communities in Virginia, so Virginia public high schools should require a more in depth program on depression and suicide.

Those currently most affected by this lack of information on depression and suicide are students in grades 9-12 in Virginia public high schools. Students in these grades are the primary focus because depression typically begins in adolescents around ages 13 to 18 (“Major Depressive Disorder in Children”). It is around this time period in life that students begin to be exposed to depression either themselves or by having a friend who suffers from it. This is also the age in which students will began to grasp the concept and reality of death, which will help them to understand the seriousness of depression and suicide (Kaneshiro and Zieve). Including a depression awareness and suicide prevention program in high school health classes will help give these students the mental tools they need to help a friend with depression so that more suicides can be prevented and more students with depression can be helped.

When confronted with depression most students become overwhelmed and scared because they don’t understand what depression is like or how to help. The current education students receive on the subject does not prepare them for the severity of depression or help them to understand it in any way. An effective depression awareness and suicide prevention program will explain depression to students in a way that they can better understand. Students not understanding depression is a problem because when they try to help a friend suffering from depression they often try to give advice, which the friend rejects because a depressed person doesn’t see any way out of the state they are in. An improved program would teach students ways to talk to a friend who is depressed that are productive and actually help the friend. Another problem with the current curriculum is that it teaches students what suicide is and what the signs are, but not what to do if someone they know is actually talking about suicide. Many students are afraid to go to an adult if someone they know is talking about suicide because they don’t know how serious that person is about committing suicide and they are afraid their friend will be mad at them. A more in depth suicide prevention program would teach students to take these discussions seriously and go to an adult.

These are several of the main problems students are facing because of the lack of education on depression and suicide. Depression awareness and suicide prevention programs that have been implemented in other schools have been shown to increase students knowledge of depression, confidence in helping a friend with depression, and confidence in going to an adult when a friend is contemplating suicide (King, Strunk, and Sorter). Virginia public high school curriculum is lacking in this area of education and improving it would be very helpful to students for the duration of their time in high school and for their entire future.

Works Cited

 

Kaneshiro, Neil K., and David Zieve. “Discussing Death With Children.” National         Institute of Health. N.p., 02 May 2011. Web. 23 Oct 2013.             <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001909.htm>.

King, Keith, A., Catherine, M. Strunk, and Michael, T. Sorter. “Preliminary         Effectiveness             Of Surviving The Teens Suicide Prevention And Depression         Awareness Program             On Adolescents’ Suicidality And Self-Efficacy In   Performing Help-Seeking Behaviors.” Journal Of School Health 81.9 (2011): 581-590. CINHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

“Major Depressive Disorder in Children.” National Institute of Mental Health.   National Institute of Mental Health. Web. 23 Oct 2013.             <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1MDD_CHILD.shtml>.

Image from:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/when-drugs-for-depression-fail-talking-therapies-help/1041816/

 

23
Oct 2013
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Depression Awareness Programs Should be Required in Virginia

Blog #5

Most high school students in Virginia know of someone who has committed suicide or attempted to do so. Several states have implemented depression awareness and suicide prevention programs in their high schools to teach students the signs of depression and how to help someone who may be suffering from depression. Virginia does not currently require such a program in high schools even though prevention programs have been shown to improve students’ awareness of the signs of depression and their confidence in their ability to help a peer who might be considering suicide (King, Strunk, and Sorter).

The first suicide prevention programs that were implemented in schools began in the 1970s (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). Many of the programs that were implemented in schools were originally directed towards school staff, teaching them the warning signs and symptoms of depression and suicide. Since the 1970s, curriculum to teach students and not just staff has slowly been introduced into public schools in the United States. Many states now encourage depression awareness and suicide prevention education in schools, but only eight states require education in awareness and prevention (“Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel”). The current status of the state of Virginia is that is does not currently require education on depression awareness and suicide prevention in schools, but does encourage it (“Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel”).

The implementation of a suicide prevention program in public schools in Virginia would primarily affect students who attend public schools, their families, and faculty and staff of public schools. Students are the most important stakeholders because the information they will learn in a depression awareness and suicide prevention program could change their opinions on depression and suicide and give them information that may be useful to them now or in the future. Parents and families are stakeholders in this issue because they are invested in what their children learn and how what they learn will affect them. Faculty and staff of Virginia public schools will be responsible for teaching the information to students in an effective way; how they teach the information will determine whether the program is successful or not. Those who will be indirectly affected by an awareness and prevention program in Virginia schools will be Virginia hospitals and psychologists. Hospitals may have a decrease in emergency patients from suicide attempts if the program is effective in getting students help before they get to the point of attempting suicide. Psychologists may see an increase in high school patients who are seeking help for depression or suicidal feelings.

Like any public policy there are two sides to this problem, those who believe a depression awareness and suicide prevention program will be helpful to students and those who do not. In this particular issue educators who disagree with the implementation of a prevention program disagree because they believe that such a program could give students who haven’t already contemplated suicide the idea that they should (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). Schools also do not want implement such a program because they don’t want to be liable if they do implement a program and then a student commits suicide (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). In contrast, those who want to implement a prevention program believe that, if done correctly, it will lower the suicide rates in Virginia high schools.

As a relatively recent graduate of a Virginia high school that had five suicides during my enrollment, I believe that Virginia high schools should be required to have a depression awareness and suicide prevention program. Suicide prevention programs should be required in high schools in Virginia because they have been shown to decrease the number of students seriously considering suicide in high schools (King, Strunk, and Sorter). Awareness and prevention programs have also been shown to increase the knowledge students have of depression and what to do when someone they know is depressed (King, Strunk, and Sorter). As part of helping a friend, suicide prevention programs have also been shown to increase the likelihood of a student going to an adult for help. The combination of reduced suicidal tendencies and improved self-confidence of students in helping others resulting from a depression awareness and suicide prevention program could help to significantly lower the suicide rate of teens in Virginia.

Works Cited

King, Keith, A., Catherine, M. Strunk, and Michael, T. Sorter. “Preliminary Effectiveness    Of Surviving The Teens Suicide Prevention And Depression Awareness Program    On Adolescents’ Suicidality And Self-Efficacy In Performing Help-Seeking Behaviors.” Journal Of School Health 81.9 (2011): 581-590. CINHL Plus with    Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

Leenaars, Antoon A, and Susanne Wenckstern. Suicide Prevention in Schools. Hempshire Publishing Corporation, 1991. 7-8. Web.

“Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel.”American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, n.d. Web. 4 Oct 2013.

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Oct 2013
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Virginia High Schools Need A Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Program

Blog #4

Cases of depression and suicide exist in most, if not all, high schools in the state of Virginia. In many of these cases students who are friends with someone suffering from depression do not know how to help and students who are depressed do not know how to ask for help or who to turn to. The lack of student education in depression awareness and suicide prevention is a problem that only eight states in the U.S. have policies in place to try to correct, and Virginia is not one of them (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). Implementing a depression awareness and suicide prevention program in high schools would greatly benefit students in Virginia.

One reason why a program like this might not already exist is because some people believe that teaching adolescents about depression and suicide might put ideas in their heads that suicide is an option for them. They think that teaching students about suicide will introduce the idea to those who haven’t previously thought about it. This has been a reason that many educators and administrators have used for not implementing such prevention programs (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). However, several studies have shown that suicide prevention programs that have been implemented do not have this effect (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). In fact they have an opposite effect in that they tend to improve students’ perceptions of themselves and their sense of self worth. Another less prominent, but still oppositional view of suicide prevention programs in schools is that they would be bad because they could make students who knew someone who committed suicide feel guilty because they should have been able to help them. Causing a student to feel guilty is a possible negative outcome of a program like this, but the implementation of the program, if done correctly, could help prevent an occurrence like this in the future. If the right program were to be implemented it would help prevent future suicides and students would know what to do so in the future they wouldn’t be put in a position to look back and wish they had done something differently.

Although there is opposition to the idea of implementing a depression awareness and suicide prevention program in high schools there is also a lot of support for the idea. Those who support the implementation of such a program recognize the positive benefits that it would have for high school students. The most important of these benefits would be that a suicide prevention program would decrease the number of suicides in high schools, as has been seen in studies done on previous suicide prevention programs (King, Strunk, and Sorter). Supporters in favor of a depression awareness and suicide prevention program would also argue that people who get depressed can get better with the right kind of support from those around them. This support would be improved through information taught in awareness and prevention programs. Supporters realize that high schools would be one of the best ways to teach this information to adolescents because it is the time when most of them begin to be exposed to the concepts of depression and suicide and where they will most likely encounter others who suffer from these problems. Those who support implementing a prevention program also recognize that even if a student doesn’t currently know someone suffering from depression, an awareness and prevention program can help increase acceptance of others which is helpful to all students in high schools.

Critical Source

The source that helped me most on this blog post was The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s web page on Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel. It has several links to pdf files that show what states currently have suicide prevention programs required for students, staff, or both. Their website in general has a lot of good statistical information on youth suicide rates and prevention programs that already exist.

“Suicide Prevention Training for School Personnel.”American Foundation for Suicide         Prevention. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, n.d. Web. 4 Oct 2013.        <http://www.afsp.org/advocacy-public-policy/state-policy/suicide-prevention-     training-for-school-personnel>.

Other Sources

2013. Infographic. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Web. 2 Oct 2013. <http://www.afsp.org/advocacy-public-policy/state-policy/suicide-prevention-      training-for-school-personnel>.

King, Keith, A., Catherine, M. Strunk, and Michael, T. Sorter. “Preliminary Effectiveness    Of Surviving The Teens Suicide Prevention And Depression Awareness Program    On Adolescents’ Suicidality And Self-Efficacy In Performing Help-Seeking            Behaviors.” Journal Of School Health 81.9 (2011): 581-590. CINHL Plus with    Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

Leenaars, Antoon A., and Susanne Wenckstern. Suicide Prevention in Schools. Hempshire Publishing Corporation, 1991. 7-8. Web.             <http://books.google.com/books?id=dKsKYvj8pHwC&printsec=frontcover>.

 

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Oct 2013
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Who Would Be Affected By A Suicide Prevention Program in Schools?

Blog Post #3

 

Stakeholders who would be affected by a policy that implements a suicide prevention program in high schools can be broken down into two groups: those directly affected and those indirectly affected. Stakeholders who would be directly affected would be students in high school, families of students in high school, policy makers, and employees of high schools. Stakeholders who would be indirectly affected by the suicide prevention program would be other people that come into contact with students that have completed suicide prevention programs.

           Students in high school are the most obvious and the most important stakeholders in this issue. They are the most important because they are the ones who the program will immediately help. They will be able to begin using the information they receive from the program immediately in their lives. A program for suicide prevention would especially help students who are currently depressed and students who currently know someone who is depressed. Studies have shown that students that have participated in programs like these in the past were better able to help friends who were depressed. They also showed that these programs helped depressed students to feel less hopelessness. Students who are not currently in one of these two situations would benefit from this sort of program because at some point in their life they will probably be in contact with someone suffering from depression, or suffer from it themselves.  It would also help to decrease the negative stigma about depression that currently exists in high schools, helping students who are depressed to feel less like outsiders.

The Yellow Ribbon Campaign is the awareness

symbol for suicide prevention

The families of students in high school are affected because they are invested in what their child learns in school and in their child’s well being. For families of students who are currently depressed this program may be good because it may help them by teaching them how to get help, or make them more comfortable about the idea of talking to someone about their depression. There are also some families who may not currently realize that they are stakeholders and these families are those of students who have friends who are depressed. Many parents do not know what goes on in their child’s life when they are at school, so their child could know someone who is depressed and be worrying because they don’t know what to do. This program could help that child because parents do not know what is going on so they don’t know to help their child themselves.

Policy makers and people who work in the school will be affected because they will also have to learn information about suicide prevention. In many schools in the United States, teachers are already given training in knowing the signs of depression in students, but depending on how the program is implemented (in a classroom or in a poster type campaign) they may have to begin teaching these concepts to students. Policy makers will have to decide how they want to present this information to make sure that it is effective and actually benefitting students and will most likely have to come up with some sort of evaluation system to ensure that the program continues to be effective in the future.

Finally, there is a large group of people who are stakeholders but do not realize that this program could affect them. These people are the people who will interact with the students who have gone through the program later on in life, such as future coworkers. These people are stakeholders because they will work with people who were taught to be more open minded and, should they experience depression, the students who went through the program will be able to help them or be more supportive for them. This group also includes psychologists and hospitals in the areas in which a program like this is implemented. Psychologists may have fluctuations

Critical Summary

This article is on a study done on several schools to evaluate whether suicide prevention programs that have been implemented in schools are actually effective. In this study the particular suicide prevention program that they used was found to be effective especially for people who were aware of depression in someone they knew. This study tested whether a student would go to an adult to get help for a suicidal friend both before and after the program was implemented and found that after the program students were much more likely to get help for a friend even if that friend made them promise not to tell anyone. This study is useful to me because it shows that education on suicide prevention in schools does work and helps to support my proposal.

Ciffone, J. “Suicide Prevention: An Analysis And Replication Of A Curriculum-Based        High School Program.” Social Work 52.1 (2007): 41-49.CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy.longwood.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=885d3c51-f347-4e41-9b73-4feb39e0da38%40sessionmgr15&vid=1&hid=17

Other Sources

This source in particular helped me to define my stakeholders because it introduces cases of when students have committed suicide in the past and who was affected.

Department of Education, Washington, DC. “Coping With Multiple Suicides Among          Middle School Students. Lessons Learned From School Crises And Emergencies.       Volume 2, Issue 2.” US Department Of Education (2007): ERIC. Web. 27 Sept.     2013.

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498521.pdf

These next two sources are more studies showing the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs in schools.

King, Keith, A., Catherine, M. Strunk, and Michael, T. Sorter. “Preliminary Effectiveness    Of Surviving The Teens Suicide Prevention And Depression Awareness Program    On Adolescents’ Suicidality And Self-Efficacy In Performing Help-Seeking            Behaviors.” Journal Of School Health 81.9 (2011): 581-590. CINHL Plus with    Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy.longwood.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=cc6be4f1-285e-47fa-972b-cc5ff3a00c96%40sessionmgr114&hid=106

Hooven, C, JR Herting, and KA Snedker. “Long-Term Outcomes For The Promoting         CARE Suicide Prevention Program.” American Journal Of Health Behavior 34.6 (2010): 721-736. CINHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy.longwood.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9be3e259-3fe5-42b0-b14b-69c333f0265c%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=106

Images From:

http://blog.quantumunitsed.com/suicide-prevention-vital-issue-for-schools/

https://grassroots.groupon.com/campaigns/suicide-prevention-dvds-for-local-schools/

27
Sep 2013
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History of Suicide Prevention Programs

Blog Post #2

Suicide and depression have been documented many times in history, the first recorded cases being documented in ancient Egyptian history (“The History of Suicide”). Depression was seen in ancient history as demonic possession and suicide was not always seen as unhealthy, in some cases it was even seen as honorable (Nemade, Reiss, and Dombeck). However, as time has passed our cultural view of depression and suicide has changed and although suicide and depression have been documented many times, only relatively recently have suicide prevention and awareness programs been introduced into society.

The first steps toward suicide prevention began in 1958 in the United States when the first suicide prevention center was created in Los Angeles, California (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). This center contained the first suicide prevention hotline to exist in the U.S. Only two years after this the International Association for Suicide Prevention was founded in 1960, bringing programs of awareness and prevention to a global level (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). Another organization, the National Institute for Mental Health, began to get involved in 1970 by putting together a task force to look at “the status of suicide prevention in the United States (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). The final of these first organizations to get involved in the education of awareness and prevention of suicide was the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which was founded in 1987 (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). These four organizations were the first to realize that trying to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide might help to bring down the suicide rate. The creation of these organizations led to a large number of other people organizing to also help prevent and make the public aware of suicide and depression.

During the 1990s a huge number of other organizations were formed to serve the same purpose as the original four, to advocate suicide prevention and awareness. Many more suicide prevention hotlines were created and became more localized to specific geographic areas. Many hotlines that had originated on a national level began opening call centers in different states or regions so that when they received a call it would be sent to the closest call center to the location of the person in need (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). Many non-government affiliated organizations formed and began to raise awareness through campaigns and named September 10 as the world suicide prevention day. The government began to get more involved as well forming organizations such as the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). This organization along with the surgeon general wrote the first National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in 2001, listing what the government was going to do to help raise awareness and policies that they would put in place to raise national awareness and educate the public (“2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” Appendix C). Through research from these new organizations the government soon realized that suicide was greatly affecting the adolescent population of the U. S as well as adults. This led to the addition of suicide awareness to public school curriculum.

The first additions of suicide prevention to public school curriculum occurred in the 1970s (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). The first school district to implement curriculum on the subject was the Cherry Creek school district in Denver, Colorado (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). The first state to implement a program on suicide and depression was California based on a bill drafted by Charlotte Ross (“Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). Many other states soon followed California’s example using the aforementioned bill to help them draft their own programs (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). Many school districts and states were hesitant at first to adopt a program for the prevention of suicide because they were afraid that if their students were not already aware of suicide that it might put the idea in their head and then the school would become liable (Leenaars and Wenckstern 7-8). However, with the increased awareness of suicide in the 1990s, many schools who were at first hesitant began to decide that these programs could be beneficial to their students and began to bring them into their curriculum. Today most states have statutes requiring that there be counselors that are trained to work with students who are having thoughts of suicide and some have statutes requiring that all educators in the school have training in suicide prevention (“State Statutes – Suicide Prevention in Schools”). Even though many states require that educators be knowledgeable in suicide prevention they do not require programs for the students in suicide prevention and awareness. This is problematic because in many cases the first person a suicidal teen will turn to is a friend. If there is no education on suicide awareness for the students, the friend may not know how to help and the person in need may not know where else to turn.

 

The source I found to be especially helpful was the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This source is a government document that outlines the national plan that the government has to increase awareness about suicide prevention. It also lists government policies on the subject and tells what steps the government is going to take next to help. I found this source to be specifically helpful for this blog because it has a timeline that includes all suicide prevention efforts from the very first organization in 1958 to recent efforts up to 2012.

United States. National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 2012 National Strategy      for Suicide Prevention. Washington, DC: , 2012. Web.             <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109918/>.

 

Sources

Leenaars, Antoon A., and Susanne Wenckstern. Suicide Prevention in Schools.       Hempshire Publishing Corporation, 1991. 7-8. Web.             <http://books.google.com/books?id=dKsKYvj8pHwC&printsec=frontcover>.

Nemade, Rashmi, Natalie Staats Reiss, and Mark Dombeck. “Historical Understandings    of Depression.”MentalHelp.net. N.p., 19 Sept 2007. Web. 18 Sep 2013.   <http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=12995>.

“State Statutes – Suicide Prevention in Schools.” . American Foundation for Suicide            Prevention, 15 Jan 2013. Web. 18 Sep 2013.

“The History of Suicide.” Crouch Foundation. The Jacob Crouch Foundation, n.d. Web.   18 Sep 2013. <http://crouchfoundation.org/history-of-suicide.html>.

United States. National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 2012 National Strategy      for Suicide Prevention. Washington, DC: , 2012. Web.             <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109918/>.

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Sep 2013
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Lack of Education and Awareness of Depression in Adolescents in High School

Blog Post #1

Upon finding out that someone close them is suffering from depression many people do not know how to react, especially when those people are adolescents in high school. Many students in high school have heard of depression and suicide but do not know the true meaning of the words or understand the effects they have on those suffering from them. Frequently the idea of depression in high school is associated with people who wear dark colored clothing or act differently from their peers. When a friend does find out that they know someone affected by depression they tend to push that person away because they don’t understand how that person is feeling or know how to help them. That is IF the friend even gets the chance to find out that someone close to them is suffering. In many cases adolescents who become depressed push their friends away before their friends even know what is happening. When depression in a teen goes unnoticed, or when a friend pushes a depressed peer away it can lead to serious consequences such as the thought of, or even act of suicide.

Depression and suicide are not new concepts to society. They have been around for thousands of years and have been mentioned in media from ancient literature to everyday news. Although these concepts are not new to society, people still have trouble dealing with them and trying to help others who are suffering. Most teens know someone who has either been depressed or committed suicide, but there still isn’t much education on the prevention of suicide or how to support a depressed friend. Currently there are only a few programs designed to increase awareness and help friends help those who are hurting. The two main campaigns for suicide prevention are the Yellow Ribbon Program for Suicide Prevention and suicideispreventable.org. Many of these campaigns exist only online and are not reaching many young people who need them the most. Another method through which depression is taught about is public school system. However, the school systems are also failing at making students aware of the signs of depression and what they can do to help a friend because they do not teach in detail about the subject.

If the subject of depression continues to be ignored because it makes people uncomfortable, people will continue to suffer. Families will continue to lose children because they didn’t know there was something wrong and friends will continue to lose touch because they don’t know how to help each other. The negative image that occurs in most adolescents’ minds when they think of depression could be changed with better education of the subject and how to handle it. Teens would benefit if there were a more publicized or more easily accessed campaign or education system on the subject of depression.

Critical Summary

This purpose of this study by Dumesnil and Verger was to measure the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns about depression and suicide. The study consisted of 200 publications on programs for depression and awareness. Each of these programs were studied to see if they actually changed the mind or opinions of the people involved in them and if they did change the minds of participants, did the changes of opinion last. The findings of the study were that of the 200 publications, some were effective in changing peoples’ opinions but only for a short amount of time and never enough for them to act on the changes of opinion that they had. This source came from a peer reviewed journal article which leads me to believe that it is accurate, unbiased information.

Dumesnil, Hélène, and Pierre Verger. “Public Awareness Campaigns About Depression     and Suicide: A Review.” Psychiatry Online. n. page. Web. 11 Sep. 2013.   <http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=100757>.

12
Sep 2013
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