U.S. Department of Education Awards More Than $100,000 to Crazy Horse School on Pine Ridge Reservation to Recover From Multiple Student Suicides and Attempted Suicides

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students awarded Crazy Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant totaling $107,631. The grant will be used to assist with ongoing recovery efforts following numerous student suicide deaths and attempted suicides during the last couple of years.

This is the third Project SERV grant awarded to a school on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The first grant was awarded to Pine Ridge School and the second to Little Wound School—both to assist with recovery efforts following record high student suicides and attempted suicides. Since 2010, the Department has awarded more than $650,000 in Project SERV grants to the three schools, including Crazy Horse, on the reservation.

“The youth of this community represent its future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., who was in Pine Ridge on Thursday for meetings and school visits. “The Department of Education is committed to helping this community recover from these tragedies. This grant will help Oglala educators strengthen the learning environment so that all students can reach their full potential.”

Full story of Crazy Horse School and suicides at ed.gov

A Suicide Prevention Solution Hiding in Plain Sight

If you were duck hunting, when do you load your guns… When you see the ducks? Of course not.

By the time Homecoming Veterans who need the help the most end up on the doorsteps of their families, for many, it’s already too late.

The solution: Help Veterans before they become Veterans. Help them better prepare for homecoming during the critical months prior to separation from military service and during the dangerous months after they arrive home.

The Decompression Dilemma

The entire military and VA heath systems are operating with a major disconnect for Veterans and their families. A “Catch 22” exists for Veterans who are suffering the most from PTSD and other Combat related mental health issues. It is a major contributing factor to not only Veteran suicide but it explains some of the underlying reason why Veterans and their families are spiraling out of control and falling between the cracks of our society. The “Catch 22”: Warriors are trained to accomplish their mission or to die trying. Adapt, improvise and overcome is the ethos that is galvanized into their being. This Spartan code has been trained into young men and women of every nation since before Homer wrote the Iliad. Remember the old saying? “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Full story of suicide prevention at the Huffington Post

Teen recalls bullying stirred thoughts of suicide

Michael Miller clearly remembers the day he was called a “fat faggot.” It was in 2006, the year he was in seventh grade, and Miller had already gotten a strong taste of bullying from day one of middle school.

When enough slurs, exclusions and taunts added up, Miller found himself at the brink of suicide — close enough to consider details that would save his family as much pain as possible, he said.

“Sixth and seventh grade were the worst. When I got to Central, I remember everyone was on edge a lot. Half the kids we didn’t know came from Ferndale (Elementary School), new groups were starting up, everyone was going through puberty.”

Those foul words didn’t come from a troubled peer, however. They came from a teacher’s lips, Miller said.

“People thought it was funny,” he said. “And that’s when we realized it was OK to do that to each other. As negative as he was, he was a role model. He made it seem OK to harass kids in front of each other. And talk about them when they were out of the room.”

That educator had plenty of company. Starting in fifth grade at Freewater Elementary School, Miller’s classmates started marching to peer pressure about how to dress, whom to talk to and what attitude to adopt, he recalled.

Full story of bullying and suicide at the Union Bullentin

Empty desks: Suicide’s touch infiltrates school

Suicide's Touch Infiltrates SchoolStephanie Livingston woke on Dec. 12 to seven text messages from friends asking if she knew what happened to Antonio Franco.

Her mind raced as confusion set in.

Then she got a text from the mother of a former classmate. In a few short words, Antonio was gone.

She didn’t believe it at first. Antonio was one of the smartest kids in class and nice to everyone "no matter what" — he was the last person she believed would kill himself.

"I didn’t know how, exactly. I didn’t know what to believe," the now 17-year-old said this winter, two months after his death.

That same day, rumors about the 16-year-old baseball player’s death started circulating through Fort Collins High School, borne by whispers in the hallways, posts on Facebook and text messages.

Full story of suicides affect on schools at The Sacramento Bee

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Bullying in the digital age

Bullying in a Digital AgeLast week, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 396, which seeks to stem “cyberbullying” by criminalizing certain behavior and annoyances. The bill, Grace’s Law, honors the tragic death of Grace McComas, a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after being harassed by a neighbor via social media. The passage of this bill is a victory for politicians who are seizing on the omnipresent topic of cyberbullying.

Bullying isn’t new. People have bullied others since time immemorial. It happens in all the usual places: school, college, work, at the coffee shop and everywhere else. What’s changed is that now some are able to use computers to bully others without ever revealing themselves. When one comes across a bully and meets them face-to-face, they know who is instigating said bullying. This isn’t always so online.

Unfortunately, the Internet has provided many the opportunities to bully without understanding the effects of their actions.

Full story of bullying in a digital age at Minnesota Daily

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PoV: Opening minds and doors to mental health

Opening Doors to Mental HealthMental wellness crucial in all walks of life

When you picture someone battling a mental illness, who do you see?

Do you envision an overburdened working mother? A businessman with a successful career? Or a firefighter who can’t shake the erase the images of a deadly blaze from his mind?

All of these people of course could be grappling with mental illness, but they’re likely not the first faces who come to mind.

If you live in Sarnia-Lambton, you’ll likely first picture a distraught teen — and for good reason.

Over the last few years, the community has banded together on the issue of teen mental health after a series of youth suicides.

Teen mental health advocates have stood up and shared their stories. Families of teens who took their lives have joined in community rallies.

Full story of mental health view at The Observer

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CDC issues final report on 2012 state teen suicides

CDC Issues Report on Teen SuicidesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a final report Monday about the rash of teenage suicides in Delaware last year.

Between Jan, 1 and March 4, 2012, 11 young people in Kent and Sussex counties died by suicide. There were also 116 non-fatal suicide attempts.

Last March, the state Department of Health and Social Services asked the CDC to conduct an epidemiological investigation into the then six known suicide deaths. The CDC published its initial report in August, and, after a careful case-control analysis, released the full, 51-page report Monday.

Dr. Alex Crosby, a CDC medical epidemiologist, identified mental illness, problems with parents, conflicts with boyfriends or girlfriends, legal issues, and substance abuse as common risk-factors, which is consistent with research.

Full story of CDC on teen suicides at Delaware Newszap

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Children with autism at greater risk for suicide

Children with Autism at Risk of SuicideChildren who have autism may be at greater risk for thinking about or attempting suicide than children without the condition, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at data for about 1,000 children, including 791 kids with an autism spectrum disorder, 186  non-autistic children without a mental condition and 35 non-autistic children with depression. Parents gave numerical ratings describing whether and how frequently their children had contemplated or attempted suicide.

Children with autism were 28 times more likely to be rated as contemplating or attempting suicide "sometimes" to "very often," compared with children who didn’t have autism, according to the researchers. However, children with depression were three times more likely to receive these ratings compared to children with autism.

Full story of autism and suicide at Fox News

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Guns and Mental Health

Guns and Mental Health in SchoolsAs we debate the steps to reducing gun violence in the society a couple points need to be understood: 1. The link between violent crime and mental illness is weak, and 2. Mental health professionals are poor at predicting anyone’s propensity for any specific behavior, including homicide.

Although it is mass shootings, particularly the massacre of school children in Newtown, that capture our attention and have accelerated the current discussion, Americans for the most part kill each other with guns in ones and twos. Of the total number of gun deaths in this country, around 30,000 a year, the majority are not the result of mental illness, but of ordinary human emotions like anger, hate, greed, and despair. In fact, about half of all shootings are suicides.

It is certainly true that our mental health system is in critical need of improvement, specifically in the area of funding. Twenty-eight states and D.C. reduced their mental health funding by a total of $1.6 billion between 2009 and 2012. With the "deinstitutionalization" movement of the ’60s and ’70s, many inpatient facilities were closed or reduced in size. It was assumed that a network of outpatient mental health clinics would take care of those previously hospitalized. This assumption has proven to be unattainable, largely because of inadequate public funding; instead many of the mentally ill are now on our streets or in our jails. (A 2010 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that there are more people with severe mental illness in prisons than in hospitals.) Inhumane and scandalous though that may be, few of them present a danger to public safety.

Full story of school guns and mental health at Huffington Post

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Teen Mental Health: Mood Disorders, Alcohol, and Suicide

Teen Mental Health HelpNew research offers further insight into the mental health of teenagers, and researchers are discovering that early intervention is critical during adolescence.

Scientists at King’s College London sought to determine how well alcohol therapy worked on teenagers. Instead of yet another D.A.R.E.-like program where messages about the dangers of alcohol are the same for every student, researchers took a more mental health-based approach to this intervention.

They tailored the treatment to each student’s personality, specifically four personality traits that are also risk factors for alcohol use: anxiety sensitivity, hopelessness, impulsivity, and sensation seeking.

Students displaying one or all of these traits were classified as either at high or low risk for future alcohol dependence. A total of 2,548 10th graders in 21 schools in London were evaluated and their drinking habits were then monitored for two years. Of those students, 709 were classified as high-risk and invited to attend two workshops that focused on cognitive-behavioral strategies for coping with their particular personality traits.

Full story of teen mental health at HealthLine

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