Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Young is Too Young?

There has been much written and implemented around suicide prevention programs and efforts. There are many awareness events across the country like the Out of Darkness Walk. Most of these programs and events are geared towards older kids and adults. But if the idea is prevention, then shouldn't we be starting earlier? So how young is too young to talk to kids about suicide and how to prevent it? Actually, there are number of best practices that have shown the sooner a child is exposed to "socialization" programs like the Good Behvior Game, the greater the possibility they will not resort to suicide later in life. They will also be less likely to engage in illicit drug use. According to Dr Dennis Embry, PhD, a National expert children's health and safety, the following statistics were reported in Wyoming Schools Well Aware newsletter: 75% of highly aggressive male students in the Good Behavior Game first grade classrooms graduated from high school, in comparison to 40% of aggressive-disruptive boys in schools who did not use the GBG. 99% of non-GBG participants went on to use illict drugs  compared with 66% of participants during the first and second grade. By ages 9-21, participants were far less likely to have needed special education services. 80% of  non-participants demonstrated antisocial behaviors in later years compared to 43% of those participating in GBG. By middle  school, those who played GBG in the first 2 years of elementary school were less likely to be delinquent.  By the time males reach their mid teens, their risk of dying by suicide increases by more than 600%. If we can implement a program that basically vaccinates kids again suicide and other negative behaviors, it is worth some discussion in schools. Dr Nick Lalongo, PhD, GBG research co-investigator and professor at John's Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health stated "Ours may likely be the only randomized controlled study of a universal preventative intervention to follow participants from the entrance to elementary school to early adulthood and to report beneficial effects on suicidal ideation and attempts. Significance of these findings is especially noteworthy for prevention of suicide in our nation."  Agencies across the nation are continuing to look at the available resources fro suicide prevention. Here are a few: Arizona based Paxis Institute has just released  a newly revised version of the PAX Good Behavior Game now available  by contacting Bea Ramirez @ Additionally, the Los Angeles Unified School District has launched a website for suicide prevention that features best practices resources. Log onto for gate keeper training for elementary schools.
Locally, has many resources available for suicide prevention work.

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