ASK – what do you think?

So what do you think when you see ASK in capitals?

I wasn’t sure what I was thinking when I signed up to do a course looking at intervening in children thinking of suicide. This course is aimed at 4-15year olds interventions.

Sobering thought. Just take a minute to re-read that and let it sink in.

We have really young people who think death will solve their problems. How do we feel about that? What society have we created?

If this isn’t wake up call to speak opening about mental ill health – all ages, all cultures, all social class etc – I don’t know what is.

Learning ASK stands for Assessing risk of Suicide in Kids – sent a judder through my body. I’m used to assessing risk in adults but children as young as 5? Yet, this is an uncomfortable, necessary thought we need to carry with us. We need to be able to engage with children struggling and show them it’s ok to feel the way they do.

Some startling stats learned on the course:

In 2015 the UK published child suicide data for the first time. Bear in mind, coroners don’t like giving suicide as the cause of death in adults let along children. The UK recorded 200 deaths in this year alone. Research shows the highest risk age group is 10-14 experiencing suicidal thoughts, suicide planning and suicide behaviour.

The ASK course also shared 30% of children aged 5-14 tell someone about their suicide thoughts. Read that again – 5-14 year old. We must be more alert and open with our children. Encouraging children to feel valued and speak up about their feelings is vital.

We try to protect our children by sugar coating sadness ‘nanny has gone to heaven’ or ‘nanny has gone to a much better place’ or ‘nanny has gone to have a really long sleep’. These do so much damage to children who need closure and to understand death is a permanent state.

Reading case studies of children struggling with their suicidal thoughts has been painful but an eye opener. I feel better able to help the very young people in my life.

If you are interested in learning more check out ASK training online and up skill today. http://www.lifelineworkshops.com

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