Saturday, June 28, 2014

Suicide So Young 11.11.13

Dear Rhonda and Dr Cheri,
                           
My heart is broken. My daughter is only 12 years old and she downed about thirty pills from our medicine cabinet (all different kinds including anti-depressants, Viagra and anxiety medication) trying to kill herself and luckily her dad found her right after she did this.

She took a picture of herself naked, except she didn’t show her head. She sent it to a boy at school who said he liked her. He sent the picture all over the school. Someone printed it and put it inside her notebook.

She felt betrayed and confused because the boy told her she was “hot” and he liked her. Her girlfriends have all made fun of her. She has no friends now.

I am confused because I have talked with her about not putting pictures on her phone or Face book. But she said everyone has a boyfriend at her school. She is only in sixth grade?!

She is still in the hospital and doesn’t want to come out. We don’t know what to do and we’re afraid she will try to kill herself again. Her younger brothers and sisters don’t know. They think she is sick and we don’t know what to tell them?

Signed,

Suicide so Young

Dear Suicide so Young,

Our hearts and prayers are with you, your family and your community. Suicide is not what any family should have to deal with, especially at such a young age. You have done your due diligence. We are proud of you. Please try to not put blame and shame on yourselves as parents.

Civility in our society starts with a few important facts that all parents, teachers and community/ church leaders should know ~ according to the National Institute of Mental Health and many other organizations:

• Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in our youth starting as young as age 10
• For every successful suicide ~ 4,400 deaths a year for our youth every year ~ 100 attempts are made for every 1 successful attempt
• 160,000 children stay home from school every single day to avoid bullying
• Most suicide attempts (approximately 80 t0 90 %) are expressions of extreme distress ~ NOT harmless bids for attention
• Cognitive Therapy has proven success rates in reducing suicide attempts
You may start awareness in your family with easy to understand dialogue such as,” Susie is ill from some students who hurt her heart and she is now healing from those open sores. Those sores will heal into scars soon with your prayers.”

Now you may start awareness in your community by having anti-bullying/ suicide discussion groups specifically for girls (girls are 5 times more prone to suicide attempts, however, you may adapt our letters making them appropriate for boys) especially where any social media is used. 70 % of our letters are in regard to cyber-bullying such as your daughter’s circumstance.

We are not fans of social media for girls, which includes phone and computer access unless the parents are present at each and every interaction. The youth know how to fake Face book accounts for parental attention and then use other social media such as Whisperings.

Our suggestion is to have monthly small Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls anti-bullying group meetings in your community … you may use our Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri columns for Role-playing and discussions ONLY with our written permission. However, we require a professional therapist or approved expert to facilitate the group discussions.

Parents, please note that a popular myth for pre-teens today is to attach social success to having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Please dispel this myth with conversation about appropriate relationships and diverse friendships that are NOT SEXUAL in nature.

Exploring talents and association in church, school or community activities are proven to help dispel this detrimental myth.

Your love will get your daughter back to feeling a great sense of worth along with helping her to define herself with Courage, Civility, Confidence, Creativity and elegant Carriage. You may help her learn to stand taller by literally helping her to stand tall in her posture. That alone speaks volumes about her strength and
non-vulnerability.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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