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    What if I′m depressed or thinking about suicide?

    Date: 09.04.07 | by Judge Tom.

    Everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, occasionally gets depressed or stressed out. Sadness, loneliness, or feelings of alienation from family and friends can hit anyone at any time.

    Whatever is troubling you—no matter how big the problem— there′s help available. Trained professionals can be reached at any time. Their services are confidential and non-judgmental, and their purpose is to listen to you and offer suggestions to help you deal with what′s going on in your life.

    • 23,900 juveniles ages 7–17 committed suicide between 1981 and 2001. Firearms were used in 60% of these deaths.
    • Persons ages 7–17 are about as likely to be victims of suicide as they are to be victims of homicide.

    Source: Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report, National Center for Juvenile Justice (2006)

    Photo by Andrew Mason

    You may have a friend or acquaintance who′s feeling depressed or suicidal. Or perhaps he or she has already dealt with depression and could help you get through yours. Reach out and discuss the problem with someone you trust. If you′re concerned about a friend, offer to help.

    If the situation is serious and you think your friend may hurt himself or herself, take action. Tell your parents, your friend′s parents, or another responsible adult. Every state has laws regarding emergency mental health care. A brief placement in a hospital (twenty-four to seventy-two hours) for evaluation can start the healing process.

    Whatever the issue—whether it′s grades, relationship problems, cyberbullying, or trouble with sports, a job, or drugs—help is nearby. Hotlines staffed with trained counselors can help you if you′re suffering from depression or thinking about suicide.

    “Stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied.”  President Barack Obama speaking to the nation’s students on September 8, 2009.             



    www.WiredSafety.org  [world’s largest online safety and help group includes advice for teens, tweens and kids, and report line]

    The Power to Prevent Suicide: A Guide for Teens Helping Teens by Richard
    E. Nelson, Ph.D., and Judith C. Galas (Free Spirit Publishing, 2006).
    Understanding the causes of suicide, recognizing the signs, and reaching
    out to save a life.

    When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens by
    Bev Cobain, R.N.,C. (Free Spirit Publishing, 1998). Describes causes and
    types of depression, treatment options, and ideas for staying healthy.
    Includes real teen stories, survival tips, and resources.

    American Association of Suicidology
    5221 Wisconsin Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20015
    (202) 237-2280
    Information and referrals to support groups around the country.

    Covenant House Nineline
    Immediate crisis intervention, support, and referrals for runaways and abandoned youth, and those who are suicidal or in crisis. Help is available for children, teens, and adults.

    Kids Help Phone
    Canada′s only toll-free national telephone counseling service for children and youth ages 4–19.

    National Youth Crisis Hotline
    1-800-HIT-HOME (1-800-448-4663)
    For children and teens struggling with problems of abuse, drugs, alcohol, suicide, pregnancy, or sexual pressure. Operated by YouthDevelopment International (www.1800hithome.com).

    National Hopeline Network
    1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
    Operated by Kristen Brooks Hope Center (www.hopeline.com).

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline      1-800-273-TALK ( 8255)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   suicidepreventionlifeline.org                                                                                                                                                            A 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

    Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
    Frequently asked questions, danger signs, support for suicide survivors, and more. Includes “What to Do If a Friend Has Depression: A Guide for Students.”

    To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) www.twloha.com

    “Dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.”

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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