In February 2015, Lily Allen intended to take her own life. A freshman in high school at the time, she might've succeeded had she not confessed that plan to a concerned friend, who then called the police. Officers showed up at her parents' home in Frisco, Texas, and Allen soon checked into the psychiatric unit at Children's Health, in Dallas, for a week.
Allen had seen a therapist in elementary and middle school to talk through friendships gone sour. She'd been bullied on more than one occasion and experienced anxiety. Allen felt overwhelmed by the long struggle to belong.
When it comes to depictions of suicide in media and pop culture, there is a dangerous perception that someone like Allen, who is inclined to take her own life, cannot be stopped. For teens, in particular, that myth may be hard to shake; suffering can seem never-ending from the vantage point of adolescence.
Here are practical steps anyone can take to help stop a teen from taking their own life:
Identify "gatekeepers" trained to spot signs of suicide risk and provide resources
The "gatekeeper" model relies on training community members, particularly adults, how to recognize that youth may be at risk for suicide. Such training can happen at schools, community health centers, and other settings where staff frequently come into contact with youth. The trained gatekeepers are prepared to identify risk in vulnerable youth and connect them with mental health and suicide prevention resources when necessary. Research suggests that gatekeeper training is associated with reductions in youth suicide deaths and attempts.
Cheryl King, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Michigan who studies suicide prevention, believes the approach can have positive benefits because adults in regular contact with youth may be best positioned to recognize suicide risk, and because it uses human connection to bring an individual's risk out into the open, which is followed by a caring effort to get a teen the resources they need.
Read the full article at Mashable.