Suicide is not the first topic that comes to mind when talking to your children. But, it is a conversation that you still need to have with them, even if you think your child is happy, doing well in school, and does not appear to be struggling.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and the second among college-aged students. Almost 20% of high school students think about suicide at some point during their teenage years. Kids are thinking about suicide, and unfortunately, too many are acting upon their thoughts. 

silhouette-1082129_1280.jpgTalking about suicide will not put the thought of suicide into someone’s mind, but it CAN let someone know that it is ok to ask for help. It CAN make someone aware that support is available. It CAN save a life. Talking about suicide may seem scary and like something you want to avoid, but it is a necessary conversation to have with your children. You want your children to have correct information about suicide, and know that it is okay to talk about it. 

You may think your child is okay and you do not need to have this conversation, but this conversation is one that every parent should have with their child. Children and adolescents often hide...

My name is Kendall and I am a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist living in long-term recovery. For me, that means I am no longer abusing heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. 

IMG_2737.JPGA little about me: I am a high school graduate, I attended a local college for 2 years, had a wonderful career in the biotech field, was married at age 22, am the mother of two sons, had a house, and loved vacations long before these issues plagued my life.

But, I am also the child who grew up in foster care early on. My older brother and I moved back with my biological mother when I was about eight years old. Things were incredibly unstable for us. There was sometimes no food—my mother often left us to fend for ourselves. The house was filthy to the point I even once had a roach in my ear. Yes, a roach! My mother was suffering from alcoholism because of traumas she experienced early in her own life. This left her not fully capable of raising her own children. My brother would often shoplift in order for us to eat. I just thought we were going for walks, and it always ended with a glazed donut. Life went on from there, and I experienced even more trauma after moving to Baltimore with my biological father. 


suicide_blog_post_1.jpegEight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intention before an attempt. Finding out that someone is considering suicide can be very frightening—but it’s also an opportunity to connect them to the lifesaving care they need. When we know what these signs are, we have the power to help prevent suicide.

If you notice someone exhibiting one of these signs, or experiencing one of these risk factors, take action and seek help as soon as possible. Remember that you know those close to you the best—look out for any changes to what’s normal for them. You just might save a life. Warning signs can include:

School starts soon and life will get back to a routine. For some, that also means hectic and stressful mornings of waking up early, packing school lunches, and making sure the kids do not forget anything as they hurry out the door to catch the bus. When you add in a child with special needs, the challenge to make sure everything gets done right and on time can be overwhelming. 

Children or teens diagnosed with a mental illness, learning differences, autism, or a processing disorder often have extra difficulty waking up, following directions, keeping track of their belongings, or focusing on personal hygiene. 

These children are not lazy. They truly struggle with focus, organization, and processing. Multi-step commands are nearly impossible to remember. Certain medications can make them drowsy. These kids need extra support, and as parents or caregivers, it is our job to give them that extra boost, and to ensure that the mornings run like clockwork, without added stress. 

Since ‘life hacks’ are the latest trend, I have created ‘life hacks for smoother mornings.’ I hope they work for you! 

get_out_of_bed.jpegGetting out of bed. Some people are not morning people, especially teenagers. Waking...

Anyone visiting the lower school campus of The Forbush School at Glyndon last Wednesday would have been forgiven for thinking they were seeing a typical summer camp field day. Nearly 80 excited kids wearing t-shirts of different team colors (thanks to a Care for Kids grant), along with as many adult staff members wearing matching team colors, were engaged in cooperative team building activities. But looking closer, the visitor would have realized that this wasn’t summer camp. It was Sheppard Pratt Health System's original, and largest, day school for students with emotional disabilities and autism spectrum disorders enjoying “SURVIVOR: Forbush.”

survivor_forbush.pngWhat appeared to be a 3-legged relay, sack race, or egg walk were actually opportunities for serious learning. Many of these students had never before been able to participate in such things as field days, recess games, jokes at the lunch table, or group science projects because of their emotional and social challenges. At The Forbush School at Glyndon, vital skills—like handling challenges without getting upset, working together to problem-solve, using positive thinking, and supporting schoolmates—are practiced all day long. The...

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