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December 19, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-12-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Haunting from page 8

How To Help
Mental health professionals, religious lead-
ers and school personnel agree that it is
critical to tell someone else if there is a
concern that a child, friend, parent or co-
worker may be at risk for suicide.
"The worst call in any suicide case is the
one that wasn't made said Rabbi Yarden
Blumstein, recovery
rabbi for the Friendship
House, a program for
Jewish people struggling
with addiction and isola-
tion.
Blumstein also coor-
dinated the Upstander
Rabbi Yarden
program, sponsored
Blumstein
by Friendship Circle of
Michigan, which teaches
high school students the importance of
helping those at risk by taking action
instead of standing by and watching.
"To hold back information is damag-
ing; said Blumstein, who said most of the
students said they did not know what to do
if a friend expressed suicidal thoughts. "You
need to tell somebody ... go to a teacher, a
counselor, their parents or your parents, but
you can't just hold onto it. If you see some-
thing, do something."
Randall Gawel, principal at Berkley High
School, agreed that communication is vital
when there is a concern about suicide or
self-harm.
"Parents should seek help and support
from professionals:' he said, "and teens
should look beyond the immediate impact
of maybe a friend being mad at them to
saving their life. Many times the behaviors
or words that lead to our concern are really
that person seeking support and not under-
standing how to ask for it. They may be
angry with you for sharing what they see as
a secret, but they will be aliv'
Kamen said there can be ways for parents
to share the concerns their child has relayed
to them without betraying a confidence, but
preventing a potential tragedy should take
precedence.
"It's a burden that so many kids have

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she said, "but if someone is talking about
it, it's serious ... especially if you know they
have a [suicide] plan, then all bets are off.
You should always tell:"
She urges parents to seek therapy if they
are concerned about their child's well-being.
"You need to be able to know you did
whatever you could:' she said.
Making sure a child or teen is getting
proper rest and nutrition is important if
depression is present, and light boxes simu-
lating natural daylight, which are available
from Costco and other retailers, may help
with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Jerry Beale believes it is important for
parents to intervene and take action as soon
as possible, although he admits that his son
successfully hid his problems from his par-
ents prior to his suicide.
"Parents are often the last to realize; kids
can cover things up so beautifully when
they want to," he said. "Just be vigilant, be
close and let your child feel free to open up:'
Sometimes a tragic outcome can be
averted, as in the case of Robin's son.
"My life was just really rough, and I suf-
fered the effects of a nasty divorce and cus-
tody fight," he said. "I just wanted someone
to tell me it would be OK, and the pain of
what I experienced was just too much for
me.
"When I tried to kill myself, the few
seconds that I lost consciousness were such
a relief. After not dying, I now am in the
process of rebuilding my life with therapy,
medication and support."

Jewish Views
Several decades ago, Jews who committed
suicide were considered to have violated
Jewish law and were buried in a separate
part of the cemetery and denied certain
mourning rites. Today, this is no longer the
case; it is widely recognized that those who
take their own lives are driven by some
kind of mental incapacity, whether perma-
nent or temporary.
"We as a society have learned so much
about mental illness:' said Josh Tobias of Ira
Kaufman Chapel, who said the funeral and

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Kadima (programs for individuals,
families coping with mental illness)
15999 W.12 Mile Road, Southfield
(248) 559-8235
www.kadimacenter.org

Survivors of Suicide
www.survivorsofsuicide.com

American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention (AFSP) - Laura Edwards
metrodetroit©afsp.org
(810) 229-4266

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