Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at least heard of the newest Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”. The basic synopsis is this: a high school student commits suicide, but before she does, she makes 13 cassette tapes with the reasons that led her up to committing the act. It is up to those she left behind to figure out that everything could’ve been prevented had they just been a good friend to her. Kind of makes you ask yourself – am I a good friend?
But what exactly makes one a good friend? If you really want to know, ask yourself what it is that you look for in your friends. Do you reciprocate those same actions to them? Here is a quick list of traits people look for when finding themselves a friend…how many do you do?
Honesty is the best policy. Trust is important in any relationship, but especially in friendships. After all, if you can’t trust your friends’ opinions, who do you turn to when you need them? Same goes for you. If your friends ask for an opinion, give them an honest one.
A friend ‘til the end. After trust is earned, loyalty is expected. If you hear someone is talking about your friend, stand up for them. Always remember the golden rule!
A shoulder to lean on. One of the most important aspects of friendship is support. Listen to them and give good advice. Being there for one another is the best defense against any kind of bullying.
If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.
September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is a time to help promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk to someone about suicide without increasing the risk of self-harm.
Mental illness and thoughts of suicide does not discriminate. It can affect anyone regardless of their age, background or gender. Suicide is the second leading cause of among young people and is often times the result of a mental illness that attacks people when most vulnerable. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) more that 41,000 Americans take their own lives and more than 494,000 Americans have received medical care for self-harm. These numbers are staggering and suicide should not be considered common. Suicide is preventable – know the warning signs and you may be able to save a life.
What are the warning sign for suicide?
Threats or comments about taking their life, also known as social ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts such as “I wish I wasn’t on this earth anymore”, but can become more dangerous
Increased use of alcohol and drug use
Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
Dramatic, over-the-top mood swings
Talking, writing or thoughts about death
Impulsive and reckless behavior
Behavior that should be taken into consideration
Anyone that is exhibiting these behaviors should seek professional help immediately:
Putting their affairs in order and giving away possessions
Saying goodbye to family and friends
Mood shifts from manic to calm
Looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide, like firearms or prescription medications
Someone who is experiencing such behavior or thoughts should seek immediate help from a mental health care provider. Having suicidal thoughts does not make someone flawed or weak. Mental health professionals are trained to help people understand their feelings and can improve mental-wellness and resiliency – don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you would like to learn more about SACK, please contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225. Or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.
When you help someone who’s being bullied, you may also help yourself. It can feel great to support someone in need and to stand up for what you believe! Many of us see someone being bullied at some point. It may be easier to just stand by, or even to laugh. But if you are brave and kind, you can be a real hero. Remember, the person being bullied may feel awful and all alone.
Bullying usually involves one or more people teasing, being violent towards, or harassing somebody on an ongoing basis. Bullying can happen in person and online and through cell phones.
What can you do if you see or know someone being bullied?
Stand up for the person. If it feels safe, defend the person being bullied. Bullies often care a lot about being popular and powerful. If you make the bullying seem uncool, the bully may stop.
Tell an adult. If you feel uncomfortable telling an adult, ask the adult to keep your comments private.
Encourage the bullied person to talk to an adult. Offer to go with them.
Offer support. Ask if the person is okay. Be friendly the next day. You can make a big difference just by showing you care.
Don’t join in or watch bullying. Bullies love an audience. Walk away, and see if you can get others to leave, too. Of course, don’t just abandon someone who is in real danger. Go get help.
Stop any rumors. If someone tells you gossip, don’t pass it on to others. You wouldn’t want someone spreading rumors about you(Source: girlshealth.gov).
If you see someone being bullied and you don’t do anything to help them then it will just continue and may get worse. People who are being bullied can feel really distressed and it can have a serious impact on their life and health. In very serious cases bullying could lead to self harming, or even suicidal thoughts. Often other people at school don’t realize the effect that bullying has when it goes on day in day out. If the bullying involves violence or threats, or if you think your classmate is in danger of getting hurt or harming herself, talk to an adult about it right away.
You can listen to the child and let him or her know you are available to talk or even help. A child who is being bullied may struggle talking about it. Consider letting the child know there are other people who can talk with him or her about bullying.
Give the child advice about what he or she can do. You might want to include role-playing and acting out a bullying incident as you guide the child so that the child knows what to do in a real situation.
Follow up with the child to show that you are committed to helping put a stop to the bullying.
Address the bullying behavior:
Make sure a child whom you suspect or know is bullying knows what the problem behavior is and why it is not acceptable.
Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. If you know someone is being a bully to someone else, tell the bully that bullying will not be tolerated! It is important, however, to demonstrate good behavior when speaking with a bully so that you serve as a role model of good interpersonal behavior.
If you feel that you have taken all possible steps to prevent bullying and nothing has worked, or someone is in immediate danger, there are other ways for you to help.
What you can do
A crime has occurred or someone is at immediate risk of harm.
Someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, or thinking of suicide.
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in a national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Someone is acting differently, such as sad or anxious, having trouble completing tasks, or not taking care of themselves.
Don and I were both teachers when we married. We were blessed with two children, Steve and Tami. Steve was a gifted child but by the 5th and 6th grade he was experiencing a lot of bullying in school, but he never told us about it. He just kept it to himself.
We knew his self-esteem was not very high and we tried everything we could think of to help, including counseling, but by the time he was in high school, his attitude and behavior were a big concern to us. They did not expect him to graduate. Unfortunately his depression was not identified.
It wasn’t long until he got into a very unhealthy love relationship which caused him great frustration, grief and sadness.
On his 19th birthday, he lost his final battle when he took his own life.
We don’t want this to happen to any more families. Bullying started Steve on this downward journey until the depression took over.
The pain of this terrible loss led us to establish the SACK Foundation with a desire to help children live, laugh and love in a bully-free environment. Every child has that right.