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Social forum to offer support and information to at-risk youth & peers seeking information

Click here to read my acknowledgments and personal thanks.
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Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative Image

Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative

This forum is being created to bring attention to the tragedy of youth suicide. Children across the country are attempting and often times, succeeding in suicide before they have a chance to discover what their future holds for them. I invite you to leave your thoughts, questions or most importantly support for children and families across the country dealing with this every day. I've chosen to include ALL at-risk youth although one area of the community that may not have everyone's support does have my support publicly. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) teenagers face incredible challenges every single day. They're confused and often misunderstood by everyone, even their own family. They face things that many average heterosexual teenagers and adults have never dealt with - being hated simply for being themselves.
I challenge you, no matter what your beliefs to watch this video

He could be talking about your child, your niece, nephew, student, neighbor, or your child's best friend. No child is safe from bullying, name-calling, and abusive behavior. I have witnessed homophobic slurs written and directed at my own stepson on his Facebook page. Your children don't have to be GLBTQ teenagers to face the problems that plague our society. They can just be awkward teenagers searching for their voice. I can no longer be silent and watch this happen.

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*Stop* Do your part to stop bullying and whatever you can to help at-risk children and teenagers. *Stop*

Youth.gov   is the U.S. government website that helps you create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest, youth-related news. Their Youth Topics series provides information, strategies, tools, and resources for youth, families, schools and community organizations related to a variety of cross-cutting topics that affect youth.

"Everybody deserves to have an education, and everybody deserves to feel safe at school," said Moriah Rahamim, a 17-year-old senior from Cleveland. "I am an ally because of empathy, and by working to ensure the safety of students who face stigma due to their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, I believe that we are really fighting for the safety of all students, everywhere."
Students Across the Country Pledge to be Allies to LGBT Youth During GLSEN's Ally Week  

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Every fifteen minutes someone in the US dies by suicide.

If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24 hour crisis center, visit IMALIVE   to chat live or dial 911 for immediate assistance.

*Bullet* 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
*Bullet* 18 million of these people are in the United States.
*Bullet* 2/3 of those suffering from depression never seek treatment.
*Bullet* Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between 10 and 19 years of age. However, suicide is preventable. Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently gives warning signs of their distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help. Most important is to never take these warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret. When all adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority—and are empowered to take the correct actions—we can help youth before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences.
Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide  

Click here to read: Five warning signs and a list of triggers that can precede suicide attempts.

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Resources: Reach Out!

Click here for a listing of teen helplines by state.  

Are you depressed or having suicidal thoughts but can't bring yourself to call a hotline? There are many resources available. Everyone, at some point in their lives, needs a helping hand. Sometimes silence is NOT golden. In fact, being silent just makes you feel more alone.

*Bullet* Log on. Work it out! Totally real. Totally anonymous. Totally yours. Teen Central.net   is an anonymous helpline website for teens by teens. It's a password-protected online community created to help teens work out their issues. It's professionally monitored and was developed by experts in teen counseling and psychology. This site is created by Kidspeace.org  

*Bullet* Teen Line-Online   is a confidential telephone helpline for teenage callers. It operates every evening from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. (310) 855-HOPE (4673) or (800) TLC-TEEN (852-8336) (toll-free in California only) OR use our live chat first. If you have a problem or just want to talk with another teen who understands, then this is the right place for you! Remember, TEEN LINE is not just a telephone helpline. They also offer email help, online chat, message boards, resources and information.

*Bullet* Helping Teens.org   is a SAFE PLACE for teenagers to be themselves. A place where teenagers will be treated with kindness, compassion, AND respect. They have had their share of problems and they know how important it is to have someone to talk to - someone that they can count on to lend them an ear and an open heart. We all need help every now and then. At HelpingTeens not only will you be helped - but you will have the opportunity to share your wisdom with other teens. We all need to know that we are NOT ALONE!

*Exclaim* Emotional distress and suicidal thoughts don't end at adolescence. The reality at college campuses today is that ONE IN TEN COLLEGE STUDENTS HAS CONSIDERED SUICIDE. The nation's leading organization working to reduce emotional distress and prevent suicide among college students is The Jed Foundation  Check out their website for information on volunteering in your community.

*Idea* Click here to learn more about ... What youth are passionate about today  

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Although it's always been around, bullying should never be accepted as normal behavior.

Most kids have been teased by a sibling or a friend at some point. And it's not usually harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny. But when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop.

Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats, and mocking to extorting money and treasured possessions. Some kids bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them. Others use email, chat rooms, instant messages, social networking websites, and text messages to taunt others or hurt their feelings.

It's important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that kids have to "tough out." The effects can be serious and affect kids' sense of self-worth and future relationships. Bullies, if not stopped, can progress to more serious, antisocial behavior. In severe cases, bullying has contributed to tragedies, such as school shootings.

Targeted teens are those who are physically different in race, body size, or clothing. Those with disabilities or those who are dealing with sexual orientation issues. Both groups are kids who are typically anxious, insecure, and suffering from low self-esteem.

Below are facts followed by what we can do - NOW to do our part to stop bullying in our own communities.

*Exclaim* One-third of U.S. students experience bullying, either as a target or a perpetrator.

Bullies are both boys and girls. Boys bully more often and more physically than girls. Girls are more likely to use rejection and slander. While they may feel uneasy about it, many children tease their peers simply to go along with the crowd. Make no mistake, bullying is a form of violence that shouldn't be tolerated. Read more...

*Idea* Start early. Parent/child talks are critical. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis. Even small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. Don't fail to correct this kind of behavior due to a child's young age. This is exactly when to stop it. Show your child that words have consequences. Read more...

*Exclaim* A high level of parents (47%) and teachers (77%) report children victimized by bullies.

*Idea* Don't give up - Stop bullying when you see it. Adults who remain silent when children are bullying others give permission to the behavior and thereby encourage it. The most effective way of addressing bullying is through comprehensive schoolwide programs. Schoolwide programs, developed collaboratively between school administration and personnel, students, parents, and community members, seek to change the school's culture to emphasize respect and eliminate bullying. Read more...

*Exclaim* Bullying and violence cause 160,000 fearful children to miss one or more school days each month.

*Idea* Teach your children how to be assertive. Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting, and walk away in dangerous situations. Bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful.

*Exclaim* Only a small percentage of children believe that telling adults will help. Children generally feel that adult intervention is ineffective and will only bring more harassment.

*Idea* Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn't stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to. If your child tells you about a bully, focus on offering comfort and support, no matter how upset you are. Read more...

*Exclaim* Three million U.S. teenagers have serious problems in school because they're taunted with anti-gay slurs. According to several surveys, four out of five gay and lesbian students say they don't know one supportive adult at school. They say teachers ignore harassment 97 percent of the time.

*Idea* Team up. Work with your PTA or local mental health association to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments. Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences. Read more...

Remember: as upsetting as bullying can be for you and your family, lots of people and resources are available to help. If you're having trouble locating information or a program in your area - contact me. I will help you.

Fact Resources:

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Bullying in Schools: Harassment Puts Gay Youth at Risk

While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GBLT) teens additionally have to deal with harassment, threats, and violence directed at them on a daily basis. They hear anti-gay slurs such as "homo", "faggot" and "sissy" about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes. Even more troubling, a study found that thirty-one percent of gay youth had been threatened or injured at school in the last year alone!

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth face tremendous difficulties growing up in a society where heterosexuality is often presented as the only acceptable orientation, and homosexuality is regarded as deviant. In recent years, however, a number of promising programs have been established to help GLBTQ youth gain the skills and support they need to develop into healthy adults in a society that largely rejects them. These programs need your support to continue. Consider volunteering in your community.

GLBTQ youth's mental health and education, not to mention their physical well-being, are at-risk.

*Question* Click here to find out -- How is their mental health being affected?

*Question* Click here to find out -- How is their education being affected?

*Exclaim* Click here for ideas on how you can GET INVOLVED

The True Colors Fund   was co-founded by Cyndi Lauper to inspire and engage everyone, especially straight people to become active participants in the advancement of gay, lesbian, and transgender equality and to raise awareness about and bring an end to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth homelessness. Watch for more exciting updates and projects as they reach for their goal to bring an end to homelessness amongst this vulnerable group of young people. In April 2010, they also launched the Give a Damn Campaign  , a bold, web-based education and awareness initiative to inspire straight people to get informed and give a damn about equality.

It's time to give a damn about the suicide risk of our gay and transgender youth. Not just because all kids deserve to know that someone cares about them, but also because research has shown that giving a damn actually makes a huge difference in the lives of gay and transgender teens. Peer support groups, teacher training, a caring adult — all help lower the suicide risk among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

Get Informed. Get Involved. Give a Damn! Learn more at We Give a Damn.org  

Please remember that the people who are ignorant and insensitive are the ones with the problems -- not you! Stay away from them, and surround yourself with caring and supportive people. But take steps to protect yourself, your rights, your feelings, and your physical and mental health.

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Runaway Information
Don't give up. There is help. There is hope. You are not alone.
There are options to running away.

Facts you may or may not know:
*Bullet* 2.8 million teens run away from home each year.
*Bullet* 1.6 million in the past 12 months have slept on the street.
*Bullet* Most are between the ages of 15-17 but can be as young as 9.
*Bullet* 1 in 3 will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
*Bullet* 32% have attempted suicide.
*Bullet* Over 50% report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and did not care.

If you or someone you know is considering running away from home, there are several ways you can receive help.

*BoxCheck* Text the word "SAFE" to 69866

*BoxCheck* Find a SAFE PLACE for help in your community. Look for the yellow diamond shape SAFE PLACE sign or visit National Safe Place   online to look up a location in your area.

*BoxCheck* Call 1-800-RUNAWAY. Anonymous and Confidential. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The National Runaway Safeline   can help get you to a safe place. They handle more than 100,000 calls annually. 10% of the callers are contemplating running away. 52% of crisis callers have been on the street for one week or less.

*Boxcheck* The Invisible Youth Network  's primary mission is to bring needed resources and services to an estimated 10,000 + homeless kids between the ages of nine and twenty-three walking the streets, beaches, parks, and canyons of San Diego County, California on any given day. Community support for these kids is minimal to non-existent, so their volunteers reach into their own pockets to meet the needs of these kids.

*BoxCheck* Children of the Night   is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 to assist children between the ages of 11-17 who are being forced into prostitution on the streets for food and shelter. Through their outreach, shelter home, and 24-hour crisis hotline, Children of the Night are able to rescue youth who in danger and are trying to escape the streets. Children who call the hotline are counseled over the telephone while they wait for transportation to the Children of the Night Shelter or until they can be placed in a shelter in their local area. Their hotline is 1-800-551-1300.

*BoxCheck* Childhelp   was founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson and is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. Childhelp is not affiliated with Child Protective Services, any governmental agency, political party, religious denomination, or any other entity, organization or institution. Are you or do you know a child being abused? Call Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

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Are you looking for a place to talk with peers your own age, somewhere you can feel at ease and talk about a problem or get a second opinion? Check out this wonderful forum:
Sign the guest book..say hello,meet friends
by ⱲƹbⱲitϚћ MooseyingAbout

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The Truth About Self-Injurious Behavior

In the past decade, self-injury has grown from an obscure psychiatric symptom to a mainstream problem. Therapists, medical personnel, and educators frequently feel unprepared to work with patients or students who engage in self-directed violence. This behavior has become more visible in society since 1996 when Princess Diana revealed that she had struggled with it. Self-injury is also termed self-mutilation, self-harm, or self-abuse. It can be defined as the deliberate, repetitive, impulsive, non-lethal harming of one's self, including but not limited to;

Self-injury is an attempt to cope with the emotional side effects of a problem and not the problem itself. It is often a cry for help (either conscious or unconscious). Most self-injurers experience themselves as being invisible. Ignoring the behavior only validates this belief, possibly causing them to become even more dangerous to themselves. The key is to focus on the underlying feelings and issues rather than focusing on the behavior itself.

While not always the case, it's often untreated depression that leads to unhealthy ways to deal with the hurt, painful feelings, or negative thoughts that people are experiencing. Sometimes these ways help, at first, appearing to provide some relief. But, even though it may seem to help, often these acts are even more unhealthy themselves, eventually becoming even greater struggles like addictions such as drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or self-injury. Self-injury, like many addictions, is simply a coping mechanism for internal pain. Although self-injurers are not usually suicidal, it can lead to accidental death and it still perpetuates a never-ending cycle of shame and depression that can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Click here to see what you can do.

There is help available. You're not alone.

Visit the "trigger-free" site blog at Self-Injury.com by clicking here   and read posts from people just like you working toward stopping this harmful behavior.

Self-Injury.com   S.A.F.E. Alternatives is a nationally recognized treatment approach, professional network, and educational resource base which is committed to helping everyone achieve an end to self-injurious behavior. Need help or information? (800)-DONTCUT / (800)-366-8288

TWLOHA.com   To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately.

Looking for information on a support group in your community?
Links and Information regarding Specialized Support Groups  
Search Engine for Local Resources and Organizations  

Knowledge is Power - Share your Support

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Other Useful Onsite References

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