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Springtime: It’s Not All about Flowers and Sunshine by Kathleen Rodriquez Thoughts of spring usually bring visions of longer days, warmer weather, and a plethora of blooming flowers. True, all of these are welcomed changes that take place in the Florida springtime, usually in the month of March. However, something else of significance changes in March – something very important – yet we seldom give it much thought: suicide.

Kathleen Rodriquez is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at WebbRauckhorst Counseling. She specializes in therapy with children and families.

Historically March is the month with the highest rate of suicide. It is a subject that may be taboo for some; but with over 34,000 suicides in the United States annually, it’s a topic that cannot be ignored. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. This age group accounts for over 4,000 suicides a year in the U.S. The belief that suicide is a spiritual issue is a myth. The truth is, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 90% of those who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females; however, females are more likely to attempt suicide. The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive/disruptive behaviors. Other risk factors include self-injury behavior, low self-esteem, feelings of wanting to die, family history of suicide, and fire arms in the home.

The following are warning signs for teen depression: • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness • Decline in School Performance • Loss of pleasure/interest in social and sports activities • Increase in sleep • Decrease in weight or appetite • Nervousness, irritability, anger outbursts • Neglect of personal appearance • Increase in physical complaints such as headache, stomach ache and fatigue • Alcohol or drug use • Withdrawal from family and friends

to be embraced and loved by his parents. Teenage years can be a very tumultuous time. This can equate to a daunting, but worthwhile, task for parents.

When depression manifests itself as behavioral changes such as withdrawal, anger outbursts, or defiance in teenagers, an impulse reaction for parents may be to throw up their hands and think, “Enough is enough. If my child wants to act this way, then so be it.” However, this is a crucial time when a child needs

God is with you at your best and at your worst. As Hebrews 13:5 states, “…He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Even in the bleakest situations, there is ALWAYS hope. Get help today.

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What may be viewed as a “teen phase” could actually be a serious issue that requires professional help. Asking for help is an act of strength and courage. Parents must stay involved with their teen and refuse to be shut out. Suicide is an act of desperation and hopelessness. It is illogical – although it may seem totally logical in the eyes of the person considering it.

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52 • March 2012 • Pinellas

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Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

www.gulfcoastfamily.org

Gulf Coast Family - March 2012 - Pinellas  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

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