Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’

Suicide is a Problem Schools Shouldn’t Walk Away From

November 30, 2014

jayden arnold

Since a child spends a majority of his or her waking hours at school, it bothers me that many schools are so reactive when it comes to helping a child at risk. To wait for obvious signs of distress is a policy that flirts with disaster. I have long called for schools to help students who have difficulties making friends or who are undergoing challenges such as radical change, seperation of their parents or those going through a breakup of a friendship or relationship. Instead of waiting for the students to ask for help, is there anything wrong with offering it?

Suicide often occurs when the victim feels that nobody cares or understands. What  better way to show you “get it” than to initiate contact with a student that might need it?

Suicide is not a problem that schools can afford to blame on home issues. It is very much an issue that needs to be tackled through a partnership between school and home:

 

A SUICIDE prevention policy should be developed in every school in Australia to counter the scourge that affects so many young people, the Black Dog Institute says.

The policy should include plans to execute prevention programs, goals for positive mental health and guidelines for managing suicidal behaviour in schools.

Institute director Professor Helen Christensen said the action plan should be distributed to all school staff.

Teachers and parents also could be trained as “gatekeepers” to improve the identification of suicidal youth by better recognising warning signs and referring students on to further care.

“Gatekeeper training can be delivered universally such as to all school staff or selectively to parents of at risk students,” Prof Christensen said.

Under peer helper programs young people, too, could be equipped with knowledge and skills to help fellow students they believe to be at risk.

Experts believe young people are more likely to confide in one of their peers than in an adult when they are having serious problems.

Prof Christensen has made a series of recommendations on suicide prevention in the specialist publication of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Teacher.

“There is increasing recognition that a coordinated approach to suicide prevention must involve the participation of key community organisations,” she said.

“Among them schools are particularly well placed to deliver interventions that will enhance resilience, improve mental health and reduce risk of suicide.”

Schools at the centre of a mental health crisis among young people report that students are self-harming or threatening to injure themselves at a rate of more than two per week.

Child psychologists also say increasing numbers of children are presenting with mental disorders such as severe anxiety and, in the most extreme cases, have suicided.

Principals campaigning for more counsellors to handle disturbed children in schools report more problems are emerging in younger students — some exhibiting violent and challenging behaviours and a lack of remorse.

Cyber bullying, increasingly linked to incidents of self harm and suicide, now affects an estimated 463,000 a year with around 365,000 of them in the 10-15 age group.

Research by the UNSW’s social policy research centre has found increasing evidence of the lasting effects of cyber-bullying with links to low self-esteem, mental health issues, depression and anxiety.

A number of schools have responded to the Sunday Telegraph’s coverage of the suicide issue affecting young Australians.

Figures show suicide is the leading non-medical cause of death in children aged 10 to 14.

Writing in the newsletter of Rosebank College in Sydney’s inner west, acting assistant principal Paul Hardwick told the school community: “It was with great sadness reading the Sunday papers that the fragility of life hit me.

“Over the last couple of months families, friends and school communities have been left to ponder ‘why?’ and ‘what should I have done differently?’

“The College’s deepest sympathies go out to the families and schools trying to work through the heartache and sadness as they come together to grieve the loss of those so young.

“While adolescent mental health issues are on the rise, we as a community need to be able to arm our children with the tools to seek assistance when they need it and certainly when they are vulnerable.

“Just asking if someone is OK is not always enough.”

Rosebank College republished in its newsletter points of advice given by the headmaster of The King’s School, Parramatta Dr Tim Hawkes, which ran in The Sunday Telegraph.

Southern Cross School at Ballina on the state’s north coast said it, too, was touched by the tragic stories published in The Sunday Telegraph.

The school this week held a Wellbeing Expo “to bring the subject of youth mental health into the public arena and open channels for young people to know where and how to contact the right people” for help.

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Runs Suicide Note Writing Workshop

Click on the link to read Don’t Wait For Signs a Child is Contemplating Suicide

Click on the link to read Teachers Can’t Afford to Make Light of Suicide

Click on the link to read Schools Have an Even Bigger Responsibility than Educating

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Bullying from a Teenager’s Perspective

August 6, 2014

bullying

Courtesy of clinical psychologist Barbara Greenberg:

 

Hello Parents,

Your teens are getting ready to head back to high school and some of them are just beginning as freshmen. All summer long, I have been working with focus groups of teens and they have been talking to me and to each other and have been quite candid about their thoughts about bullying. They have shared their most intimate experiences, their concerns and their very creative ideas about how to deal with bullies.

This is what your kids want you to know about the bullying experience, but might never tell you. You see, they don’t want to upset you, disappoint you, worry you and are even concerned that you might not be interested. They are wrong. I know that but they don’t. Here is what they are not telling you:

1. The majority of your teens report that while they may not have been bullied, they have witnessed a peer being bullied.

2. They have not always been sure how to intervene at these times, but they have ideas.

3. They frequently and in large numbers report that an adult should be told about bullying incidents, but feel that even when they tell adults the adults are NOT likely to intervene effectively. They report that adults look the other way, don’t take bullying seriously enough and even give meaningless consequences to the bully.

4. By and large, the well-spoken and passionate teens feel that the adults are letting them down in this arena. YIKES. I know that no adult in a position to help teens wants to be seen as ineffective and dismissive.

5. Your kids have some very creative ideas about how to handle bullies including:

a. attempting to befriend them in the hope that a bully can become an ally.

b. making the bully laugh so that the bully learns a different style of interacting.

c. letting the bully know the impact that they are having on others. Many teens feel that bullies are clueless about their painful impact on others.

d. asking them about their lives. Many teens feel that bullies are probably hurting. It’s amazing isn’t it that teens feel empathy for bullies?

AND

e. they have even expressed that you raise your kids to have empathy so that they are less likely to act in a socially aggressive and emotionally painful manner. These large groups of male and female teens have been telling me all summer long that they are concerned that some parents may inadvertently be raising bullies.

Your teens would also like you to know that:

1. They see many parents acting as bullying role models for their kids. They worry that you may be encouraging exclusivity, cliquey behavior and even physical aggression. Teens are and always have been watching the adults around them.

2. They think that adults should curtail gossiping because kids mimic them and gossiping is one of the worst and most hurtful forms of social bullying. They are on to something here; aren’t they?

3. They worry that you are bullying your kids in the privacy of your homes and that your kids are going to school upset, frustrated and looking for a place in which to practice what they have learned at home.

AND

4. They are concerned that you might not even have given consideration to the idea that your own kid may be the bully. They think that you should consider this idea and work with your teen to be a kinder and more empathic individual.

I do not want to leave you with the impression that teens all blame the adults in their lives for the bullying behaviors of teens. Many teens reported learning empathic and pro-social behaviors from their parents. Amen to the child-rearing style in those homes. We need more of that. We need parents to realize that you are your teens’ most important role models. I have been saying this for years. Take this important opportunity in your life to teach your kids that their words and behaviors can either soothe and comfort or destroy the hearts and souls of their peers. Do not ever rule out the thought that your own child may be the bully at times and if you suspect this then work with your child to change this behavior.

We all remember own experiences being both the bullies and the bullied. None of us flourished from these experiences. In fact, many of us became emotionally and physically sick during these times. Your kids and I are calling upon you to be aware of your role and power in helping to both raise good kids and to become even more aware of the terrible interactional cycle of bullying that continues to persist in high schools all over.

Good luck.

Own your power.

Help your kids.

XO

Dr. BG

 

Click on the link to read Girl Gets taped and tied to tree and ‘sexually assaulted’: Where Were the Teachers?

Click on the link to read Start Being Proactive When it Comes to Bullying
Click on the link to read The Real “Mean Girls”

Click on the link to read Anti-Bullying Song Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Some Schools Just Don’t Get it When it Comes to Bullying

Click on the link to read The Bystander Experiment (Video)

 

Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

March 2, 2014

 

dyslexia

While I cannot comment on a report that claims there is no easy definition for dyslexia, I do agree that learning difficulties and ADHD labels have been helpful to poor teachers looking for an excuse.

Mr Hitchens has gone a lot further than I would, but the fact that many teachers rely on labels such as dyslexia to avoid full responsibility for a child’s lack of progress is hard to dispute:

I doubt there has ever been a society so easily fooled by pseudo-science and quackery as ours is. Millions of healthy people take happy pills that  do them obvious harm, and are increasingly correlated with inexplicable suicide and worse.

Legions of healthy children are drugged into numbness because they fidget during  boring lessons, and countless people are persuaded that they or their children suffer from  a supposed disease called ‘dyslexia’, even though there is no evidence at all that it exists.

A few weeks ago I rejoiced at the first major cracks in this great towering dam of lies. Dr Richard Saul brought out his courageous and overdue book, ADHD Does Not Exist.

I also urge everyone to read James Davies’s book Cracked, on the inflated claims of psychiatry since it sold its soul to the pill-makers.

Now comes The Dyslexia Debate, published yesterday, a rigorous study of this alleged ailment by two distinguished academics – Professor Julian  Elliott of Durham University, and Professor Elena Grigorenko of Yale University.

Their book makes several points. There is no clear definition of what ‘dyslexia’ is. There is no objective diagnosis of it. Nobody can agree on how many people suffer from it. The widespread belief that it is linked with high intelligence does not stand up to analysis.

And, as Parliament’s Select Committee on Science and Technology said in 2009: ‘There is no convincing evidence  that if a child with dyslexia is not labelled as dyslexic, but receives full support for his or her reading difficulty, that the child will do any worse than a child who is labelled dyslexic and then receives special help.’

 This is because both are given exactly the same treatment. But as the book’s authors say: ‘Being labelled dyslexic can be perceived as desirable for many reasons.’ These include extra resources and extra time in exams. And then there’s the hope that it will ‘reduce the shame and embarrassment that are often the consequence of literacy difficulties. It may help exculpate the child, parents and teachers from any perceived sense of responsibility’.

I think that last point is the decisive one and the reason for the beetroot-faced fury that greets any critic of ‘dyslexia’ (and will probably greet this book and article). If it’s really a disease, it’s nobody’s fault. But it is somebody’s fault. For the book also describes the furious resistance, among teachers,  to proven methods of teaching children to read. Such methods have been advocated by  experts since Rudolf Flesch wrote his devastating book Why Johnny Can’t Read almost 60 years ago.

There may well be a small number of children who have physical problems that stop them learning to read. The invention of ‘dyslexia’ does nothing to help them. It means they are uselessly lumped in with millions of others who have simply been badly taught.

It also does nothing for  that great majority of poor readers. They are robbed of one of life’s great pleasures and essential skills.

What they need, what we all need, is proper old-fashioned teaching, and who cares if the silly teachers think it is ‘authoritarian’? That’s what teaching is.

Click on the link to read my post on Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism
Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Click on the link to read my post on Disabled Children: A Missed Opportunity for Us All

Click on the link to read my post on Meet the 14-Year-Old on his Way to Becoming a Nobel Prize Winner (Video)

Teacher Runs Suicide Note Writing Workshop

May 24, 2013

simon

Anyone interested in the aptly named School of Death? I hope not:

Philosophy professor Simon Critchley from New York City’s New School said he believes that the only way to really learn how to live is to prepare to die.

So, as part of a larger theatrical installation this spring called School of Death, he offered a suicide note writing workshop to anyone who was interested in appreciating its literary art form.

The notes studied ranged from the terse and emotionally conflicted — “Dear Betty: I hate you, Love George” — to the narcissistic: “Now you will appreciate me.”

“The worst thing that can befall us is to die alone,” said Critchley, 53. “And the suicide note in some strange way is not to die alone. It’s always addressed to someone. It’s a failed attempt at communication.”

The Short Video You MUST Watch!

January 27, 2013

 

The teacher that had the courage and drive to make this heartfelt and inspirational video must be congratulated. Catherine Hogan, a teacher from Lindsay Place, has captured the very essence of what drives a caring, passionate teacher and her message is bound to alter some misconceptions felt by many students and parents. I was deeply moved and touched by this poignant and heartwarming clip.

Please watch this video and get your friends and family to do the same. Please notify others about its existence on Facebook and other social media devices. Only 12,624 have watched it from YouTube as I write this. This number doesn’t properly do justice to the quality and raw power of the clip.

lindsay

Click on the link to read Dying Teacher on Journey to Find Out if he Made a Difference

Click on the link to read Introducing the World’s Oldest Teacher

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Meet the Armless Math Teacher

Click on the link to read The Case of a Teacher Suspended for Showing Integrity

Click on the link to read Teaching is Worth It!

Teachers Can’t Afford to Make Light of Suicide

December 11, 2012

teens

I am sure many will fiercely oppose my view that a teacher who asked her students to write an essay from the perspective of someone about to commit suicide, should not be suspended.

Whilst I am of the belief that suicide should not be taken lightly in the classroom, I can understand the intention of the teacher and can see the benefit of exploring themes of self-esteem, frustration, self-loathing and loneliness, all of which can be conjured up through this essay topic.

A teacher has been suspended after asking a class full of teenagers to write suicide notes.

The man, who has not been named, is a French teacher at the Antoine-Delafont school in Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard, near Angouleme, France.

He told the 13 to 14 year olds to imagine what they would say to themselves if they were about to end their lives out of ‘disgust’ for their lives.

The assignment, set in October, read : ‘You’ve just turned 18. You’ve decided to end your life. Your decision is definitive.

‘In a final surge you decide to put in words the reason behind your decision. In the style of a self-portrait, you describe the disgust you have for yourself. Your text will retrace certain events in your life at the origin of these feelings.’

Teen suicides are becoming a growing problem, made worse by the proliferation of social media and mobile technology, experts say.

A recent study by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America, found that one in 12 US teens have tried to kill themselves at least once.

On a larger scale, suicides made up 13 per cent of all deaths among US youths ages 10 to 24 last year, according to the study.

Neuropsychologist Hector Adames said the rise of communication through technology is a major reason why suicide rates are on the rise.

‘What happens with an increase in communication among students is that there’s more pressure. There’s more bullying.’

‘When adolescents and children feel embarrassed, it’s kind of like the end of the world for them.’

Jean-Marie Renault, the school head, confirmed that the teacher had now been ‘officially notified’ of his suspension, following complaints from parents.

‘It was suggested that a student was on the point of putting an end to his life and describing it,’ said Mr Renault. ‘This appears quite disturbing’.

He said the teacher had confessed to feeling ‘confused’ when he set the writing exercise, and later regretted it.

As bad as this story can be made out to sound, let’s not overreact!

Parents Failing to Protect their Young Children from Porn

December 9, 2012

comp

The internet has made the job of parents a great deal harder:

More than four in ten parents say that their children have been exposed to internet porn, an official survey reveals.

Almost a third say their sons or daughters have received sexually explicit emails or texts and a quarter say they have been bullied online or on their phones.

Many others have been exposed to websites promoting anorexia, self-harm and even suicide.

The frightening insight is contained in a round-up of responses to a Department for Education consultation on parental internet controls obtained by this paper.

Click on the link to read A Case of Parenting at It’s Worst

Click on the link to read The Most Popular Lies that Parents Tell their Children

Click on the link to read Dad’s Letter to 13-Year Old Son after Discovering he had been Downloading from Porn Sites

Click on the link to read A Parent that Means Well Doesn’t Always Do Well

Click on the link to read A Joke at the Expense of Your Own Child

 

The Disgusting Act by a Teacher that Drove a Schoolgirl to Attempt Suicide

November 26, 2012

Not only doesn’t humiliation work in promoting and nurturing good citizens but it is an absolutely appalling practice. To strip a student naked and parade her in public amounts to disgusting conduct regardless of her infringement.

This story upsets me no end:

The scale of cruelty and corporal punishment in Indian schools was highlighted yesterday by the attempted suicide of 13 year girl who was paraded naked by a teacher for ‘stealing’ £15.

The girl was forced to remove her clothes by a female teacher at a school in north-west Delhi after being accused of stealing money and a mobile phone from a classmate. She returned home after school and jumped off the balcony of her four-storey block of flats. Her relatives said she had been distraught by her public humiliation.

Her case emerged amid a series of reports of brutal attacks on children by teachers throughout India. A four year old boy was forced to drink his own urine by his nursery teacher in Andhra Pradesh to punish him for wetting himself. A five year old boy in the same state was beaten up by a grammar school principal, while a seven year old Dalit girl was thrashed by her mathematics teacher for failing to solve a problem. A teacher was arrested in Madhya Pradesh for partially scalping an eight year old girl .

After reading this, I want even one person to come forward and explain to me how corporal punishment can be legal in some civilised countries.  How is it possible that we can allow any kind of harassment, humiliation or physical consequences, often in the hands of a person who have a clear emotional detachment of the child in question?

Click on the link to read Legalised Corporal Punishment = Legalised Physical Assault

Click on the link to read The New Form of Spanking

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Beat Kids Should Be Put Away!

Click on the link to read Corporal Punishment Reveals the Worst School Has to Offer

Click on the link to read Calls To Allow Teachers To Use “Reasonable Force” on Students

Schools Have an Even Bigger Responsibility than Educating

October 13, 2012

I am by no means making allegations against the due process taken by the school of a suicide victim. I am definitely not accusing them of a failure to act.

However, it is important to note that some schools forget that the most important responsibility of a school is to ensure that each child is given the respect and care that they so richly deserve.

Some schools seem to get carried away with standardized test results, appearances, marketing and uniform. These considerations are certainly not unimportant, but they do not compare with the importance of knowing every student, being aware of any bullying problems that may be prevalent (even if it’s cyberbullying) and doing everything in their powers to create a culture where bullying behaviour is not given oxygen.

It breaks my heart when bullying leads a child to take their life. These incidents can often be averted by a perceptive school community and classmates that refuse to sit by idly and watch a classmate suffer:

A Vancouver-area teen who used YouTube to share her heart-wrenching story of being bullied online and beaten at school has killed herself, unleashing a torrent of social media condolences and soul-searching.

Amanda Todd was found dead in Coquitlam on Wednesday night, less than a month before her 16th birthday.

News of her torment and death are being shared on social media through Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, where #RIPAmanda is trending.

“I’m saddened to see that this was the only [way] this young girl could escape such torment. May she rest in peace,” posted one woman on Facebook.

Last month, Todd posted a nine-minute video on Youtube featuring her holding up cue cards that chronicled the cyber-bullying and cruelty she suffered, despite changing schools and cities.

All schools can revise their operational procedures to see to it that less incidents of child suicide come at the expense of school bullying.

 

Click on the link to read The Rise of Teacher Approved Bullying (Video)

Click on the link to read Nowadays There is Nowhere to Hide From Bullies

Click on the link to read Social Media: A Playground for Bullies

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

 


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