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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Preventing Teen Suicide

Written by  Toby Klein Greenwald

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QMy sixteen-year-old daughter told me that a girlfriend of hers told her, in confidence, that she was thinking of suicide, and has actually tried it several times. She threatened to really go ahead with it if my daughter tells her parents that she is thinking about it. My daughter, in deep distress, came to me. What should we do?

Worried in Washington

ADear Worried in Washington:

This is one matter that you can't take the time to play around with, using trial and error. The good news is that your daughter's friend has issued a cry for help and has not yet done the deed. There are several tracks of parallel action to be taken immediately.

First of all, contact a mental health professional who you trust and consult with him. Secondly, tell your daughter that she should remain in close contact with her friend and continue to be supportive. Thirdly, contact the school psychologist, guidance counselor or whoever you trust most within the school to handle the situation properly. In one case like this that I know of, the school psychologist succeeded in making a deal with the girl that if she came to him for therapy, he would hold off on telling her parents.

And finally, perhaps there is something terribly troubling going on in the girl's family and you, as the mother of her friend, can invite her to spend time in your home, if that is an emotional commitment that you are willing to make.


Last modified on Saturday, 24 March 2012 21:10
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Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald, Executive V.P. Creative Development, is a founding partner and the editor-in-chief of WholeFamily. Toby is an educator, journalist, photographer, scriptwriter, poet, playwright, lyricist, and theater director, including for populations that have experienced trauma or are at risk. She is a Playback Theater conductor and is the recipient of Israel's Ministry of Education's Egerest Award for Culture, for her work in educational and community theater. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has served on numerous educational think tanks. Her specialties include the creation of innovative educational programs, and teaching Creative Writing and Film to AD(H)D and LD high school students, and to senior citizens. Toby is married to Yaakov and they have six children, most of whom have made her a proud mother-in-law and grandmother.

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