Suicide Prevention With Guest Speaker David Yamashita-March 2018 Workshop

group photo suicide prevention

For our March workshop, we engaged in a discussion around suicide with David Yamashita, a suicide prevention advocate with Forefront, and a 2017 Tina Orwall Community Advocate Award winner.  During our discussion we learned that every day 14 kids and teens die by suicide every day. In the state of Washington, 1100 lives are lost to suicide every year. David gave us an acryonm to remind us of how to be aware of the signs of suicide. LEARN is that acroynm. 

L: Look for warning signs. Some warning signs are big feelings, changes in behavior (especially reckless behavior), and verbal communication about death. 

E: Empathize and listen. As a friend, you need to remain calm, offer compassion, avoid judgment or giving advice, and when in doubt, just listen. 

A: Ask directly about suicide. If you see the above warning signs, be ready to ask “Sometimes when people are feeling hopeless they are thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?” When you ask, you need to be ready if they say yes, and remember empathy. 

R: Remove dangers. If they say yes they are thinking about suicide, tell a parent and have them remove any medications, firearms, chemicals and belts/ropes. 

N: Next level of care: seek resources. Help your friend call the Suicide Prevention Hotline, or text the suicide prevention number. 

We then did some role playing asking each other if they were thinking about suicide and practicing our empathy skills. 

At the end of the discussion, everyone put the suicide prevention hotline and text line in our phones. Now we are all a little more prepared. 

The Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255
The Suicide Prevention Text Line 741741