September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and it’s important that we all do our part to spread awareness of the resources available to help those around us year round.
Children and teens in foster care are especially at risk of suicidal thoughts due to the trauma they have experienced. A 2006 study found that adolescents who had been in foster care were two and a half times more likely to consider suicide, and four times more likely to have attempted suicide, than their peers. Additionally, experiencing childhood abuse or trauma increases the risk of attempted suicide two- to five-fold.
In order to care for the children we serve, we must first look after ourselves. The work we do at CASA, while important and rewarding, can also be difficult. CASA volunteers and others, especially those in direct service, are at risk of experiencing secondary traumatic stress, causing them to feel symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Continue to care for those around you and be aware of how your friends, family and colleagues are doing. Check in with those important to you, especially if they haven’t seemed like their usual self. If you are willing and able, offer yourself as a safe person for people to come to if they are having suicidal thoughts. For more information, see this article on the five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, we encourage you to open up to someone you trust, whether that means talking with a loved one, a mental health professional or utilizing a lifeline below.
Please utilize these resources and share them far and wide. Together, we can support each other, prevent suicides and save lives.
Secondary Traumatic Stress Resources:
- Secondary Traumatic Stress – A Fact Sheet
- Taking Care of Yourself
- Secondary Traumatic Stress Tool Kit
- Understanding Secondary Traumatic Stress
- Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Child Welfare Staff
Suicide Prevention for Parents & Families:
- Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide – Parent Toolkit
- Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide – Teen Toolkit
- Jason Foundation – Parent Resource Program
Hotlines to help anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts:
National Suicide Prevention Line
- Call – 1-800-273-8255
- Online Chat
- For Spanish Call – 1-888-628-9454
- For Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
- Video Relay Service – 800-273-8255
- TTY – 800-799-4889
- Voice/Caption Phone – 800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line
Available 24/7, English Only
- Text HOME to 741-741
The Trevor Project
LGBTQ focused, Available 24/7, English Only
- Call – 1-866-488-7386
- Text – START to 678-678
- Online Chat
Transgender Focused, Open 9 a.m.-3 a.m. CST but operators are frequently available during off hours, English Only
- Call – 1-877-565-8860
Veteran Crisis Line
Veteran and Family of Veteran Focused, Available 24/7, English Only
- Call – 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
- Text – 838-255
- Online Chat
- For Deaf and Hard of Hearing – 1-800-799-4889