Teen Suicide: Crisis on Campus

Student suicides: Be an educated parent.

An infographic by the team at College Degree Search

Hard numbers:
6 % of undergraduates and 4 percent of graduate students in 4-year colleges have “seriously considered attempting suicide” in the past year—and nearly half of each group did not tell anyone.
3X: The suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and Suicide is currently the 2nd most common cause of death among college students.
1,100: number of suicides that occur at colleges every year – that’s roughly 7.5 per 100,000 students. 1 in 12: number of college students who have actually made a suicide plan at some point 1.5: number of college students out of every 100 who have actually attempted it.
2X as many young men, ages 20-24, commit suicide, compared with young women.
In the past 50 years, the suicide rate for those age 15-24 increased by over 200%.
12 people aged 15-24 will commit suicide today – that is one about every two hours.

Demographics:

Caucasians account for over 90% of all completed suicides.
2X: though Caucasians are twice as likely to commit suicide as African Americans; the rate of suicide is growing faster among young African Americans than among Caucasians.
Suicide rates from 1980-1995 increased 93% for African American females (age 15-24) and 214% for African American males (age 15-24).
Native Americans have the highest suicide rate among all 15-24 year olds.
Asian American women have the highest suicide rates among women ages 15 to 24.
Men commit suicide more than four times as often as women, but women attempt suicide about three times as often as men.
Suicide by firearm is the most common method for both men and women.

FACT: The emotional health of college freshmen — who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school — has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.
The percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent.
It was 64 percent in 1985.

Campus stress producers
• Cost: Financial pressure, tuition plus room and board, is a huge stress-inducer.
• Competitiveness: How academically rigorous is the school?
• Acceptance rate: More competitive schools generally produce a more competitive student body.
• Crime on campus: is it safe?
• It’s the economy, stupid: has added to the stress, not just because of financial pressures on their parents but also because the students are worried about their own college debt and job prospects when they graduate.

5 Most Stressful Universities
5. Northwestern University Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,660 Total Price per Year: $58,829 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 51 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $23,337 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 49 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 23 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 23
4. Harvard University Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,277 Total Price per Year: $56,000 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 47 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $33,276 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 59 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 6 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 13
3. Columbia University in the City of New York Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,184 Total Price per Year: $59,208 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $31,796 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 54 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 10 percent Crime Rank (among top 25):
2. University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,852 Total Price per Year: $57,360 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $25,952 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 45 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 12 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 9
1. Washington University in St Louis Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,303 Total Price per Year: $58,901 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $23,963 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 41 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 17 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 6

Sizing up the risk factors include:
Prior history of suicidal behavior
Family history of suicide or suicide attempts
Suicidal behavior of a friend or colleague
Mental health problems like depression or substance abuse
Family history of depression or substance abuse
Easy access to lethal methods (like firearms)
Interpersonal isolation
Impulsive, aggressive or antisocial behaviors
History of abuse or family violence
Some common warning signs are when student:
Talks about suicide, death or having no reason to live
Is preoccupied with death and dying
Has trouble eating or sleeping
Experiences drastic changes in behavior
Withdraws from friends or social activities
Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc
Prepares for death by making out a will and final arrangements
Gives away prized possessions
Takes unnecessary risks
Relationship difficulties including a recent loss or threat of significant loss
Loses interest in their personal appearance
Increases their use of alcohol or drugs
Expresses a sense of hopelessness
Is faced with a situation of humiliation or failure
Performance difficulties
Legal or financial trouble
Is unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers

In America, someone attempts suicide once every minute, and someone completes a suicide once every 17 minutes. Throughout the world, approximately 2,000 people kill themselves each day.

What can parents do?
Stay in touch with your college kid. Freshmen especially need to know that the family support they relied on through childhood is still there, even long distance
Chat by phone, IM or Skype
Send care packages
Visit occasionally
Be a calming voice when things get rough
Do not undervalue the importance of sleep, diet, exercise and de-stressing activities
Familiarize yourself with the student health and mental health services available on campus, so you can remind your child of the support available on campus
Be sensitive to the signs of stress
What is being done to combat college student suicide:
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (GLSMA) is the first piece of legislation to provide federal funds specifically for youth, adolescent and college age suicide prevention. Included in the bill is $31 million for over five years to fund the matching-grant programs for colleges and universities to help raise awareness about youth suicide
The Campus Suicide Prevention Grants program supports colleges and universities in their efforts to prevent suicide among students and to enhance services for students with depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral health problems that put them at risk of suicide.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is taking action on a broader scale. With this public/private partnership, leaders from Government, business, the advocacy community, and other groups are working together to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
National Graduate Student Crisis Line, offers immediate help for grads in crisis 1-800-GRAD-HLP (1-800-472-3457)

Parent Empowerment Blog Makes Top 20 List

WildernessVenturesFor over a decade I have been helping parents with struggling teens after my own challenges with my teenager.  Back in the time when the Internet was in its’ infancy, there wasn’t a lot of information to be out here yet.  Now it seems there are literally thousands, if not millions of sites and bloggers with every click of a mouse.

With this, I am so flattered and honored to be selected in the list of of top 20 blogs and websites, not only once, but for two of my sites.  Two of my blog sites, http://www.parentempowerment.blogspot.com and http://www.suescheffblog.com which I created only several years ago, made the cut!

I want to personally thank the team at Wilderness Ventures for believing in my work and understanding my passion for what I do.

Here is there recent press release as well as the other top sites and blogs that are all tremendous!!!

Wilderness Ventures, the oldest and most experienced adventure travel program offering teen summer camps, is announcing their choices for the “Top 20 Blogs and Websites for Parents with Teens” for 2013. The blogs and websites selected by Wilderness Ventures are being honored for their innovative and creative content as well as their ability to offer parents and teens a personal connection and invaluable virtual resources.

Team members at Wilderness Ventures scoured the web to find bloggers that demonstrated practicality, creativity, personal engagement and fun in their blog while offering unique perspectives on being a parent of young children or teenagers. Criteria such as design, helpful tips and pointers, level of engagement, number of followers, and more, were factored into the final selection process.
Wilderness Ventures, who has offered teen adventure camps for more than 40 years, believes that active personal engagement and communication between parents and their teenage children are important factors for parents whose job is to teach the next generation of young adults. For this reason, Wilderness Ventures is choosing to recognize blogs and websites that they feel promote interpersonal connection between teens and their parents as well as shared resources between parents.
The list of top 20 blogs and websites for parents with teens included here, in no particular order:
About Wilderness Ventures:
With more than 21,000 student alumni, Wilderness Ventures has pioneered outdoor adventures for young adults and has paved the way for youth travel around the world.  Their 40 years of experience, unwavering values of community, inter-personal growth, wholesome environments, safety, wilderness education, discovery, conservation, and exploration have led to their unmatched and trusted reputation. Wilderness Ventures currently holds special permits to operate their teen adventure camps in 20 National Parks and 17 designated wilderness areas with special permits.

Creating Healthy Dating Habits With Your Teen

Teen dating is part of our kids growing up.

Now this part of life is compounded with the use of the digital world.

Skout, a mobile flirting application that uses GPS technology has been linked to three instances of sexual assault in recent weeks. In response, the under-18 portion of the community has been shut down as its organizers work to develop better safeguards.

The mobile dating site, which was originally created for adults, uses GPS technology that allows users to see nearby singles. In a safety precaution, the app does not reveal street addresses.

However, if you were at your neighborhood grocery store, you would be able to check your phone to see if another single was in the area, check the profile and then send an IM or text if you were interested in meeting that person.

In the teen version of Skout, the app pinpointed other users’ locations within a half-mile radius, and though it was supposed to be a safeguard, it proved to be the perfect tool for predators to scout their victims. In all three instances, adults took advantage of underage teens; but GPS is also a tool that can be used in teenaged dating abuse.

A technologically savvy teen can use GPS to monitor a dating partner, either through cell phones or other devices. Often, GPS isn’t needed to monitor a teenager’s location.

With the ability to update a Facebook status, Tweet or even “Check-in” via Facebook, teenagers are revealing their locations all the time.

In the past, teen dating abuse was more easily identified. Ten years ago, when landlines were the norm and phone bills had limited minutes, abusive behavior like excessive phone calls would have been easy to identify. Today, teens can put their cell phones on silent and receive unlimited texts, masking abusive behavior from parents.

“I call it an electronic leash,” said psychotherapist Dr. Jill Murray in an interview with ABC News. “I’ve had girls come into my office with cell phone bills showing 9,000 text messages and calls in a month. This is all hours of the day and night. And it’s threatening.’Hi. How are you? Where are you? Who are you with? Who are you talking to?’” Considering a teen’s constant attachment to his or her cell phone, the potential control for the abuser is virtually unlimited.

In addition to the private world of text messaging, the world of social media offers abusive teens a public platform to humiliate and degrade their partners.

Teens can use Facebook or Twitter to insult their partners or reveal embarrassing, false or intimate information about the victim. Abusive partners can even use this potential public humiliation as a form of blackmail.

You might be surprised to learn just how common it is for teens to develop an abusive relationship. The National Center for Victims of Crime cites that over 40 percent of both genders report having been involved in some form of dating violence at least once during high school.

If you recognize that your teen is in an abusive relationship, your first reaction may be to begin limiting freedoms such as Internet and cell phone use, but often teens in an abusive relationship don’t confide in their parents for fear of such restrictions.

Remember, the victim in an abusive relationship is often made to feel as though he or she has done something wrong. A reaction that could be seen as a “punishment” could only increase feelings of low self-esteem and could further alienate your teen from you and other positive support groups – while the abuser will see the opportunity to slip into the position of the ally.

Instead of revoking mobile access, you could recommend this app for your teen. It was made for college students, as a peer-based support system to help escape social situations, but it can easily apply to the teen dating world. In this app, GPS is used to empower the victim, proving that technology can be a helpful tool in avoiding abuse.

The app is called “Circle of 6” and it allows users to easily contact 6 people with discreet SOS messages:

“Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…” and “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”

If you notice that your teen’s partner is becoming too controlling, a good strategy is to engage in a project or take more trips together. You can also offer to facilitate outings for your teen and his or her friends. You can also go on trips and invite your teen and his or her significant other. The goal is to offer your teen examples of healthy, positive relationships that will contrast the negative emotions spurred by the abusive one.

Contributor: Amelia Wood is a blogger and freelance writer who often writes to explain medical billing and coding online. She welcomes your questions and comments at amelia1612@gmail.com.

The Betty Griffin House in St. Augustine offers The Peace Club for children ages 3-17. The Peace Clubs helps kids to identify abuse, build self-esteem, resolve conflicts without violence, develop and use a safety plan if necessary, and break the silence about violence at home. Peace Club includes a school-based curriculum for all children and support groups for children affected by domestic violence.

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Tips for Talking to Your Teen About College

Does your teen want to go to college? Do they want to take a year off?  Are they considering staying local or going away to school?

Nothing is more difficult as a parent than watching your babies leave the nest.

This moment can happen at any age, but one of the most common associations is on the day they start college courses.

Even if your child will be living at home for a few years when they start school, the beginning of college still marks the beginning of their adult life. So, how do you prepare your kids for the process of choosing a college based on their needs? And, how do you do this while recognizing that this decision is, ultimately, up to your child?

Even though this can feel like a thin tight rope to walk, and you may be more nervous about your child’s choice of college than he or she is, it is still very important to have a discussion with your teen about future college plans. In fact, this conversation can be helpful for you both.

Here are some good tips for going about it:

1. Be realistic about your expectations.  This is probably the most important step parents need to reach in order to have a successful talk with their teen about college. There is nothing wrong about setting high standards for your children and having high hopes for the education that they will pursue after graduation, especially if you intend to pay for it. However, you have to remember that, once they graduate high school, your kids’ lives are technically in their own hands. They will be of the age to make their own decisions and determine their own futures. So, parents need to reach a healthy balance of personal expectations and allowing their children the freedom to follow their own dreams before a conversation can be had.

2. Figure out how they feel.  The next step after you have come to terms with your own expectations is to figure out what your child’s expectations are for him or herself. Starting in on page twenty when your kid has only thought about college to about page four won’t really work. Likewise, falsely assuming your child is starting at square one when, in fact, he or she has been researching schools for months is another way to start the conversation off on the wrong foot. Instead, ask your child how much time they have spent thinking about going to college. Then, ask them what they have been feeling about it. Figure out where your kids are in the process before you carry on with a discussion.

3. Make sure they understand the commitment.  There is more to college than picking a school and signing up. College students are no longer on a high school timetable where they attend school from 8 to 3 every day and have their schedules lined up for them. In college, your child will be responsible for getting himself to class on his own and getting work done in a timely manner without parental supervision. There is also a huge financial commitment involved in enrollment. Once you know your child’s plans, you can discuss with them the realities of those plans and how they mesh with the realities of what your family can provide.

4. Ask what you can do to help.  Instead of becoming a dictator in your child’s college search, simply ask what you can do to help the process. Ultimately, unless your child wants you to choose a school for them, the choice of where to go and what to study is up to your kid, so you should simply act as a form of help and guidance in the process. Let them know that you are there for them, no matter what. If your teenager doesn’t seem to know how to take the first steps toward figuring out college plans, then you can step in and provide a little direction by setting up school visits and looking for information about degree plans.

5. Suggest other sources of guidance.  If your teen is less than enthusiastic about working with you on college plans, you can refer them to someone you trust to provide insight and advice. Try suggesting that they talk to their favorite teacher, a college-aged cousin, or anyone else who has their best interests at heart for help along the way.

This is a special guest post by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online university.  You can contact her at: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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Five Parenting Mistakes with Teens and Tweens

Parenting today is probably the hardest job one can have.  The challenges of keeping up with their friends both online and off is overwhelming!

It is probably one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs there is.  Although there are many times you have to look hard for those rewards, as they can become hidden during those teen-hood and pre-teen times, you will eventually see them.

WebMD put together five mistakes that parents make with teens and tweens.  As second semester is progressing, there are many parents struggling with their kids to understand the importance of finishing school and doing well in it.  As with many adolescents, they see their social life is more of their priority.

Teen Parenting Mistake # 1: Expect the Worst

Teenagers get a bad rap, says Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. Many parents approach raising teenagers as an ordeal, believing they can only watch helplessly as their lovable children transform into unpredictable monsters. Expecting the worst sets parents and teens up for several unhappy, unsatisfying years together.

Teen Parenting Mistake #2: Read Too Many Parenting Books

Rather than trusting their instincts, many parents turn to outside experts for advice on how to raise teens. “Parents can tie themselves into knots trying to follow the advice they read in books,” says Robert Evans, EdD, executive director of the Human Relations Service, Wellesley, Mass., and author of Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing.

“Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate skills,” Evans tells WebMD. “If the recommendations and their personal style don’t fit, parents wind up more anxious and less confident with their own children.

Use books (and articles like this) to get perspective on confusing behavior and then put them down. Spend the extra time talking with your spouse and children, getting clear about what matters most to you and your family.

Teen Parenting Mistake #3: Sweat the Small Stuff

Maybe you don’t like your daughter’s haircut or choice of clothes. Or perhaps she didn’t get the part in the play you know she deserves. Before you intervene, look at the big picture. If a certain mode of self-expression or set of events does not put your child at risk, give her the leeway to make age-appropriate decisions and live with the results.

Teen Parenting Mistake # 4: Ignore the Big Stuff

If you suspect your child is using alcohol or drugs, do not look the other way. Parents should address suspected drug or alcohol use right away, before it escalates into a bigger problem, says Amelia M. Arria, PhD, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

The years when kids are between 13 and 18 years old are an essential time for parents to stay involved,” Arria tells WebMD. Parents might consider teen drinking a rite of passage because they drank when they were that age. “But the stakes are higher now,” she says.

More drugs are available today, illegal drugs and legal medications. For example, cough remedies with DXM (dextromethorphan) have become a new drug of choice for some teens. DXM is easy to get and teens and parents alike underrate its potential dangers. Studies show that between 7% and 10% of U.S. teens have reported abusing cough medicine to get high. Although safe when used as directed, DXM can cause hallucinations and disassociations similar to PCP or ketamine (Special K) when used in excessive amounts, as well as rapid heartbeat, unconsciousness, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Watch for unexplained changes in your teen’s behavior, appearance, academic performance, and friends. If you find empty cough medicine packaging in your child’s trash or backpack, if bottles of medicine go missing from your cabinet, or if you find unfamiliar pills, pipes, rolling papers, or matches, your child could be abusing drugs. Take these signs seriously and get involved. Safeguard all the medicines you have: Know which products are in your home and how much medication is in each package or bottle.

Mistake #5: Rule With an Iron Fist, or Kid Gloves

Some parents, sensing a loss of control over their teens’ behavior, crack down every time their child steps out of line. Every day brings a new punishment. The home becomes a war zone. By contrast, other parents avoid all conflict for fear their teens will push them away. They put being a cool parent ahead of setting limits and enforcing rules. For these parents, discipline is a dirty word.

To read the complete report by Joanne Barker, visit www.webmd.com.

It is very easy for outsiders to judge and give advice about raising our teens.  Remember, each family is unique and each child is different.  Although some people believe in the tough love approach, it is diffcult to employ when your teens are still minors.

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Defiant Teens: How to Handle Teen Rebellion

Many parents with teenagers are well aware that raising a teen presents a challenge. A teen’s attitude can fluctuate from being kind and well-behaved to rude and rebellious in a matter of seconds. Many want to know how to handle teenage rebellion, but several are unaware of where to start. Continue reading to learn how to handle your teenager’s rebellious stage and start establishing the role you’d like in their life.

1. Listen
One thing that many parents have difficulty with is listening to their teen. It’s crucial for both parent and teen to talk and share feelings with one another. In order to communicate effectively,be aware of where your child is coming from and what his/her mindset is. Listening cannot only help our relationship, but also help identify issues that need to be addressed.

2. Enforce Rules & Values
When teens are going through their rebellious period, they break rules. This behavior can be improved by consistently letting your child know what is expected of them. Eventually, behavior will improve. Aside from enforcing rules, discussing values can also aid in improving behavior. Values are a huge part of life and making your teen aware of them can help them through their rebellion and throughout their entire life.

3. Allow Some Distance
Every teen is going to be in a bad mood every now and then. When this occurs, parents need to give them some space. If your teen is neither violent nor destructive, give them some privacy. There is nothing wrong with giving them time to take a walk around the park alone or go in their room and lock the door. Sometimes, a few minutes alone can calm a teenager down.

4. Get to Know Teachers
Getting to know your teen’s teachers and developing a good relationship with them can make it much easier, as well as make both yourself and their teachers aware of behavior problems. This can help build a support system for the child and yourself too.

5. Support Group
Although you may believe that your teen is the issue, there is always room to work on yourself as a parent. A parent support group/parenting classes can teach you how to improve your home environment and inform you of better ways to handle your teen when the rebellion switches into full gear.  Bettering yourself as a parent can benefit your rebellious teen significantly.

6. Family Counseling
Family counseling can help to address the underlying issues that led to the rebellion. Every rebellious period stems from an underlying issue. This can be anything from school to friends or yourself. Once the cause of your teen’s bad behavior is addressed, a family counselor can then give the family tips, strategies and skills to repair these issues.

Overal,l leaning to handle teenage rebellion requires work, patience and determination. Getting involved in their life without being invasive is a great place to start. Aside from that, these tips should be very helpful, because they have proven helpful to me time and again.

Contributor:  Kim Richmonds likes to write about parenting & saving money at www.homeinsurance.org.

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Is your child mature enough to stay home alone? Is your teenager?

Is your teen responsible when they are home alone?

Is your tween ready to be home alone?

Is your child ready to be home alone?

As children get older, they need to take on more responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is taking care of themselves. Whether it’s for a few minutes or a few hours, eventually every child needs to be able to stay home alone.

Here are ten tips on deciding when your child is ready.

  1. Your child should indicate a desire and willingness to stay alone – Children who are easily frightened or express an unwillingness to stay alone are probably not ready for this responsibility.
  2. Your child should be showing signs of accepting the responsibility – Children who are able to get ready for school on time and complete homework and household chores with a minimum of supervision are illustrating their growing sense of responsibility.
  3. Your child should be aware of the needs of others – Children who remember to tell you where they are going and when they will be back and are mindful of the promises they make are aware of other’s needs.
  4. Your child should be able to consider alternatives and make decisions independently – Children who solve problems on their own and do not depend on their parents for every decision are demonstrating some of the skills they need to care for themselves.
  5. Your child should be able to talk easily with you about interests and concerns – Good parent-child communication is needed to ensure that any fears or problems that arise because of staying alone can be quickly discussed and dealt with.
  6. Your child should know how to react in situations such as – being locked out, being afraid, being bored, being lonely, and arguments with brothers and sisters.
  7. Your child should know house rules about – leaving the house, having friends in, cooking and use of kitchen equipment, appropriate snacks and meals, talking with friends on the phone, and duties to be completed while home alone.
  8. Your child should have good telephone skills – Such as a list of emergency numbers, knowledge of what to say in an emergency situation, how to respond if someone calls, and understanding of appropriate and inappropriate reasons for calling parents or other adults for help.
  9. Your child should have good personal safety skills – Such as how to answer the door when alone, how to lock and unlock windows, what to do if approached by a stranger on the way home, what to do if they think someone is in the house when they get home, and what to do if someone touches them inappropriately.
  10. Your child should have good home safety skills – Like kitchen safety (use of appliances, knives and tools), what to do if they smell smoke or gas- or in the event of a fire, what to do during severe storms, basic first aid techniques and how to know when to get help.

For many children these abilities begin to appear between the ages of 10-12. Some children may take longer than others, but it should be a mutual decision. Both the child and the parent need to be certain they are ready. A trial period of one or two days a week could be tried first, allowing both the parent and the child time to assure themselves that they are ready for this next step in responsibility.

Source:  Nanny Classifieds

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