Keeping your school-age children safe during suicide prevention month

Keeping your school-age children safe during suicide prevention month

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - September is national suicide prevention month. Mental health will remain a top priority for health professionals in the coming weeks as children return to the virtual classroom.

For clinical social worker Michael Gosser, there has to be a change, and the stigma around suicide has to be removed.

“We definitely need to change the way we look at it,” said Gosser, “and the way we talk about it. Many folks have suicidal thoughts at some point in their life.”

This September is likely a little different as most students will attend school online. Between the isolation and the added stress, Gosser said those factors could snowball to suicidal thoughts.

Some school districts send letters home to parents every year telling them their students of a certain age will go through some type of suicide awareness course. This year, that could be even more important, even though it will have to be virtual.

Gosser believes those special courses are crucial.

“I think that is so important, just so they know how to support one another,” Gosser said. “I think that’s a part of the training students go through is how to recognize that not just yourself, but a peer, or a friend is going through something, this is how you help them.”

One thing Gosser said a parent can do is be aware of what’s available for their children, resources that can be likely be found through your child’s school.

“Try to reach out and stay connected, whatever the situation is,” Gosser suggested. “I think that’s the best thing, understanding what’s out there, contacting your school if you have any concerns, so you can get an assessment or get somebody to pay attention to that situation.”

Gosser Works at the UofL Peace Hospital which is open 24/7 with free assessments for anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts. You can learn more about them here.

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