13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 9, 10 & 11

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

We’ve already discussed some of the most common issues teens deal with in real life that are portrayed in 13 Reasons Why season 2. During the second half of the season, there’s a lot of discussion about the practical role schools play in suicide prevention. Is it the school’s responsibility to prevent suicide? Does talking about suicide at school increase risk for a student to die by suicide? Can bullying that takes place at school increase a teen’s risk of suicide?

Keep reading for answers to these questions and how to talk with your teen about the important themes from episodes 9, 10 and 11.

 

Episodes 9, 10 & 11

Theme: School Responsibility

One of the biggest themes from these three episodes is deciding what the school’s responsibility is to its students. Liberty High School communications teacher Mrs. Bradley takes the stand during episode 9 and school counselor Mr. Porter testifies during episode 10. Both Mr. Porter and Mrs. Bradley had a lack of training and didn’t know how to help or what to do when Hannah expressed suicidal thoughts. While it is not necessarily Mr. Porter’s or Mrs. Bradley’s fault that Hannah died by suicide, the school and its staff do have a role to play in preventing suicide by creating a place of connection, support and hope.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen about the culture at their school. Do they feel supported? Do they know who they could turn to for help if they were struggling with thoughts of suicide? Then, ask the school’s administrators what they are doing on campus to prevent suicide. If the administration is not sure where to start, refer them to Teen Lifeline. We have several free programs, from adding our hotline number to the back of school IDs to providing training for teachers and staff members, that can be implemented at your school.

 

Theme: Contagion

During these episodes, Clay is in trouble with the school for continuing to talk about suicide and Hannah’s death by suicide. The principal explains the reasoning for the ban on talking about suicide is that contagion is real – meaning one suicide can lead to more suicides. Clay responds by asking if it’s not more dangerous to stay silent. Both the principal and Clay are correct. Suicide does have an element of contagion. But, contagion or suicide clusters are seen most frequently in places where no one talks about it. Keeping children silent and refusing to allow them to talk about suicide or what they’re feeling may actually increase their risk of suicide.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk about suicide. If you are concerned your child might be considering self-harm or suicide, try using one of these questions to start the conversation:
    • Are you feeling suicidal?
    • Do you feel like hurting yourself?
    • I’ve noticed you’ve been talking about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?
    • What are some of the reasons you see suicide or self-harm as an option?
    • It seems like you are really hurting and upset by this. How can I help you?

 

Theme: Bully-victim

During episode 10, a new character named Sarah is a witness in the trial against the school. Sarah knew Hannah at a previous school and testifies that Hannah and three other girls bullied her so badly she ended up changing schools to get away from them. It is not uncommon for teens to be both a victim of bullying and a bully themselves. We call this a bully-victim. Most teens involved in bullying situations fit in one of three categories, bully, victim or bully-victim.

Suicide is complicated and is never caused by just one thing. However, bullying can be one of many factors that contribute to thoughts of suicide. Statistically, when we look at risk for suicide, bully-victims are at a higher risk than victims who have never bullied others. Surprisingly, bullies are also at a higher risk for suicide than victims.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk to your kids about the difference between bullying and conflict. We can have arguments and disagree with someone without bullying them. Bullying is when someone tries to take power over or intimidate another person. Ask if your child has ever felt bullied by someone else and how they handled the situation. Ask if your child has ever bullied anyone. Brainstorm alternatives to bullying and ways to disagree without bullying.

 

 

To learn more about episodes 9, 10 and 11, watch our Facebook Live video by Teen Lifeline Clinical Director Nikki Kontz at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.

For answers to questions that have not yet been addressed in our series of Facebook Live videos and blogs about 13 Reasons Why season 2, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 6, 7 & 8

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why gives parents many opportunities to talk with their teen about what it’s like to be a teen. Your child is the expert on this particular subject. Ask questions and listen as they talk about what is going on in their lives, with their friends, and at school.

Use the following discussion guide to jumpstart conversations about the themes especially poignant in episodes 6, 7 and 8. For tips for talking to your teen about suicide, dating violence, sexual assault, loneliness and other topics addressed during season 2, read through our discussion guides for the first five episodes.

 

Episodes 6, 7 & 8

Theme: Loss  

Teens can experience loss in many ways beyond the death of a friend. For instance, breakups, moving, changing schools, fighting with friends and parents going through a divorce can all result in a teen feeling a great sense of loss.

We see examples of loss as Clay deals with Hannah’s death and his breakup with Skye.

Jessica experiences a loss after Alex’s suicide attempt. Even though Alex survives, he and his relationships have changed, which is a theme Jessica deals with throughout the second season.

Sometimes adults forget to pay attention to some of the losses teens experience. Life experience tells us that eventually, everything will be okay. But for teens who don’t have the benefit of prior experience, the loss and pain they are experiencing is not only real but can be consuming.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen how they feel about different events that have caused them a sense of loss. Remember to listen. While a breakup or fight with a friend may seem insignificant to you, it is very real for teens and they may need your help to work through feelings about the situation.

 

Theme: Warning Signs

Prevention specialists, whose job it is to teach others about the warning signs surrounding suicide, find 13 Reasons Why extremely frustrating. There are frequent warning signs and cries for help that go unrecognized or are recognized and then ignored. Just a few of these warning signs include:

  1. Hannah writing notes and poems about suicide
  2. Hannah telling her friends she’s struggling
  3. Hannah talking with her school counselor
  4. Zach telling his mom he has thought about suicide
  • Discussion Tip: There is a myth that talking about suicide will plant the idea in your teen’s head, and it’s simply not true. Ask your child if he or she has ever thought about suicide. It’s also a good idea to talk with your teen about the warning signs of suicide. You can get a list of warning signs at TeenLifeline.org.
    • If your teen has noticed any of these warning signs in their friends, brainstorm ways to help. For instance, your teen could notify a school counselor or ask the friend directly if they are considering suicide. Call Teen Lifeline at 602.248.8336 if you want additional ideas for how your teen can help a friend or classmate who is struggling.

 

Theme: Stigma

During these episodes, Clay goes to visit Skye in an in-patient treatment center. These two scenes are some of the best in the series because they address many of the myths around what it means to get treatment. The behavioral health center where Skye is staying is clean and filled with ordinary people trying to get better. In just minutes, Clay asks Skye the questions most people have about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Skye also points out that while treatment works, she has to work at it. She takes responsibility for herself and her mental health.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child what they think mental health treatment is like and if anything about the scene with Skye surprised them. If your child has asked for help, make sure they know the steps you are taking. Keep your teen informed if you are waiting for a call back, are on a waiting list or have made an appointment for them.
    • A lot of teens we talk to think their parents aren’t trying or don’t care, when in reality, parents are working on getting their teen help, but just haven’t communicated where they are in the process. 

 

For a more in-depth discussion of episodes 6, 7 and 8, watch our Facebook Live video at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos. We had some audio difficulties during the beginning moments of this Facebook Live, so fast forward to the four-minute mark to hear what our prevention specialists have to say.

If you have a specific question we can answer, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 4 & 5

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

Many of the themes from the first three episodes of 13 Reasons Why season 2 will continue in the storylines from episode to episode. If you haven’t had a chance to talk with your teen about some of the topics introduced in the first three episodes, there is still time to bring them up as you watch later episodes.

Otherwise, use the following guide to talk to your child about episodes four and five.

 

Episode 4

Theme: Substance Abuse

Justin comes back in episode four and viewers learn that he is addicted to heroin. Clay flushes Justin’s drugs down the toilet and viewers subsequently see Justin go through a painful withdrawal.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen if they, or anyone they know, have ever used drugs or alcohol. Brainstorm ideas for what your child can say or do to get out of an uncomfortable situation that involves underage drinking or drug use.

 

Theme: Loyalty

The teens in 13 Reasons Why continually turn to each other for help and show an unwillingness to involve adults in the problems they are facing. The characters seem to value loyalty to each other over their own safety. This is common among teenagers.

  • Discussion Tip: Discuss the choices made by the characters in 13 Reasons Why. Ask them who the people are in their life that they trust (both peers and adults). Ask your child what situations merit involving an adult. Ask about the risk in involving adults and breaking the trust of peers.

 

Theme: Revenge

Tyler grows increasingly angry as the second season continues. He seems to feel especially angry at whoever is testifying because he feels as though he told the truth on the stand and it had a negative impact on him, while everyone else seems to be lying and not facing any consequences. In episode four, Tyler begins to seek revenge by paint bombing Marcus with bright pink paint.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask what kinds of things make your teen angry. Brainstorm healthy ways to cope with feeling rejected or excluded. What are better alternatives Tyler could have used to move past his feelings of rejection?

 

Episode 5

Theme: Loneliness

Ryan, who narrates episode five, talks about Hannah’s poetry and writing. As you listen to Hannah’s poems, you can feel how lonely she was at school. While she had lots of interactions with the other kids, she did not have deep connections with her classmates. It is common for people who are considering suicide, especially teens, to feel as though they are not connected to others.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen to tell you about times they have felt lonely. Brainstorm ways to help feel more connected to others.

 

Theme: Dating Violence  

During episode five, viewers catch glimpses of Bryce acting aggressively toward Chloe. When Chloe meets Bryce’s parents for the first time, Bryce’s mom notices bruises on Chloe’s arm. When she asks about them, Chloe makes up an excuse that the bruises are from cheerleading. The viewer can tell Bryce’s mom doesn’t believe Chloe’s story, but she also doesn’t push the issue or ask additional questions.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk with your kids about establishing boundaries and what healthy relationships should look like. Be careful not to come across as judgmental and accusatory when speaking about your child’s relationship, or your teen is likely to become defensive. If you’re concerned someone you care about may be in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to help them create a safety plan. Start the conversation by asking general questions such as:
    • How do you feel when you are with his person?
    • Do you feel safe when you are with this person?
    • Do you ever feel afraid?
    • If you did feel unsafe, what would you do, who would you call, where would you go?

 

Theme:  Empathy

As the season progresses, we learn more about the back stories of each of the characters introduced in 13 Reasons Why season 1. As you learn more about each character, you begin to feel empathy for the person and understand why the characters do the things they do.

  • Discussion Tip: Talk about the difference between empathy and sympathy. Ask your child how learning more about the characters’ backgrounds helps them better understand their decisions. Discuss how this applies to real life. Are there reasons some of the people at your child’s school act the way they do?

 

For more in-depth information about discussing 13 Reasons Why season 2 with your teen, watch our Facebook Live discussion videos at Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.

Or, if you have a specific question you’d like answered, email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Parent Discussion Guide: Episodes 2 & 3

Photo: Beth Dubber – Netflix

You’ve watched, or plan to watch, the first few episodes of 13 Reasons Why, season 2 with your teen. Following the shows, there is a lot to talk about.

What are the most important topics to discuss and how do you lead the conversation? The following guide can help you navigate through the most important themes from each episode.

 

Episode 2

Theme: LGBT Issues

Courtney, the character narrating this episode, comes out as LGBT during the course of the trial. The episode shows how difficult it can be for a teen to come out to their parents and friends. Courtney is afraid of how people will treat her after she’s come out and how being LGBT will affect her current relationships.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child if anyone they know – or if they themselves – have ever struggled to tell people they were LGBT. How did coming out affect their relationships?


Theme
: Self-Harm

Throughout the first episodes of the season, Clay continually asks his girlfriend Skye to promise she won’t hurt herself or that she’ll call him before she does. This is typical of what would happen among teenagers.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your child to brainstorm different ideas for how they could help a friend who self-harms. And, don’t be afraid to ask your teen if he or she has ever considered harming himself or herself.


Theme: Mental Health

During the second episode, Skye is hospitalized for increasingly erratic behavior. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is the first time the writers of 13 Reasons Why have addressed treatment options for mental health and that there is hope for people who are struggling with depression, bipolarity or other mental health concerns.

  • Discussion Tip: Make sure your child knows that treatment does work and there is hope if they are struggling.

 

Episode 3

Theme: Sexual Assault

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim. Jessica, the character narrating Episode 3, was sexually assaulted by Bryce during Season 1. Hannah, the character who dies by suicide during the first season, was also raped by Bryce. Clay and Alex pressure Jessica to tell the truth about the assault on the witness stand during the trial regarding Hannah’s death. But, Jessica is also receiving threats warning her not to disclose the rape in her testimony. Ultimately, Jessica does not tell the truth about what happened on the witness stand.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your teen to tell you about anyone they know who may have been sexually assaulted. Then talk to them about how they feel about the situation. For more information about Arizona laws surrounding sexual assault, visit RAINN.org.


Theme: Race       

One of the reasons Jessica gives for not telling the truth about being raped by Bryce is that she is afraid of the cross-examination she will receive. She’s seen other witnesses be ripped apart and worries that it will be worse for her because she is biracial with a mother who is white and a father who is black.

  • Discussion Tip: Ask your kids how race plays a part in their school and how people treat each other.


Theme: Grief

During this episode, a friend of Hannah’s mother Olivia sees the blood-stained dress Oliva was wearing when she found her daughter after Hannah’s death by suicide. The friend then washes the dress without Olivia’s permission. The storyline causes difficulty and anger for Olivia and results in her explaining that she has to process her grief in her own way.

  • Discussion Tip: While others can encourage you and give you advice, no one can force you through the grieving process or make the process proceed any faster. Brainstorm ideas for how you and your teen can best support people who are grieving.

 

For more information about talking to your child about episodes of 13 Reasons Why visit Facebook.com/TeenLifeline/videos.

Do you have a specific question you would like answered? Email us at media@teenlifeline.org.

 

If your teen is currently struggling, Teen Lifeline is always here to listen and to help. Your teen can call or text 602-248-8336 to talk to a trained teen counselor.

If you’re a parent concerned about your son or daughter that is a teen, we are here for you, too! Visit our help page here

Teachers, if you are worried about a student, we have some vital tips and helpful information so you know your next steps! 

Summer and On: Outdoor Family Activities

As a parent, raising children through the teen years can be perplexing and difficult. Almost overnight, our sweet boys and girls morph into young adults. Unfortunately, this transition is complicated and often accompanied by slamming doors and unpredictable swinging moods. Suddenly, we are back to square one when it comes to navigating our teen’s emotions and needs.

This period of development can easily lead to a disconnect in the family if we are not careful. We need to remember that just because our kids have a deeper voice and can legally drive a vehicle, they still need a relationship with us. We need to look for new activities that can help us bond and build upon the foundation we layed when they were younger. This can be more difficult now that our kids are older, but it isn’t impossible.

8 Teen Friendly Family Activities to Try This Summer

To help us during this unique parenting phase, we have compiled the following list of eight summer and outdoor family activities to try with our teens:

Go camping. Teens may balk at leaving the modern comforts behind, namely their electronics. However, spending a few days and nights in the great outdoors provides ample opportunities for the family to connect while exploring new environments. Evenings spent around the campfire talking or telling stories will be something they remember forever, plus it gives us some one-on-one time without interruptions from friends and technology.

Embrace frisbee golf. Many local parks and state recreation areas have built elaborate frisbee golf courses for public use. On a beautiful day, take the kids out for an impromptu round and enjoy the company. If your family enjoys this game, join a league or register for a tournament together.

Grow something together. Our children are more than capable working alongside us as we grow a garden or tend a section of plants. This will give them something to nurture during the warmer months and they will reap the rewards of their efforts in the form of healthy veggies, brilliant fruits, and beautiful flowers. Use guides to choose the right plants for the zone you live in or to find flowers that have special meanings. Kids might balk at the idea of weeding or pruning, but ultimately they will enjoy sharing their harvests with neighbors, donating to the local food pantry, or canning their yields for the winter months. This will give our kids a better appreciation of knowing where their food comes from and the effort it really takes to put a meal on the table.


Hold on tight. If you have an adventurous teen, consider visiting an ATV course or try your hand at white water rafting. Just remember to learn how to safely operate the equipment and wear appropriate safety gear. This just might be the experience of a lifetime!

Create large yard versions of their favorite board games for endless fun. Help them channel their inner child and revisit classic games like Jenga, Chess, or Kerplunk for the outdoors. If you don’t want to try your hand at crafting these grown-up recreations, bring out lawn golf, croquet, or badminton for games to involve the whole family. The main idea is to get everyone outside and playing together.

Have an outdoor movie night. Revisit the nostalgia of drive-in movies with a sheet and a projector in your own backyard. If you don’t have access to a projector, your teen can put their engineering skills to work and build a makeshift projector using a shoebox and Smarthphone.  Finally, choose a classic or modern film that everyone can enjoy, buy some bug spray, and pop some popcorn for a night spent watching movies in the backyard.

Go star gazing. We always tell our kids to dream big and shoot for the stars. Literally take this sage advice and spend the summer nights gazing up at the heavens. Find a book or app to locate constellations and track the movement of the night sky. It doesn’t matter if you have a telescope or just lie on your backs, you will be taking in Mother Nature’s beauty while creating new memories.

Create a family living space outdoors. As a family, design a space outdoors that extends the family’s living space outside. Make sure you have plenty of comfortable seating and shade to keep everyone healthy. Consider adding a firepit, hammock, or water feature. This will make it a more enticing area for everyone to gather for dinner, s’mores, and games in the evening.

 

How do you plan on keeping your teen enjoying outdoor family activities this summer?

 


Amy Williams is a journalist based in Southern California. As a mother of two, she hopes to use her experience as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best that they can be.

 


 

How Pets Are Helping With Multiple Mental Health Issues

We’ve long known that animals and pets have helped us in a number of different ways, especially from an overall health standpoint. They reduce stress, lower our heart rate and may motivate some of us to exercise more. Therefore they can extend our overall life expectancy with their contribution as our companions. But they also assist in other roles that lead many of us to live better, more fulfilled lives as service dogs, especially for those who struggle with mental health issues.

Do animals possess a unique skillset that humans just can’t offer to those with conditions like depression, anxiety or even epilepsy? We’ve all heard about dogs that have “sniffed” out cancer in their masters and science simply can’t explain this ability beyond an animal’s heightened sense of smell. Is it delivered through specific breeding since some like the Norwich Terrier are better “ratters” and hunters or bloodhounds are better trackers compared to others? Does this give our four-legged friends an ability to sense something like an oncoming seizure, or does it come from a bond they form with their masters?

Teenage Trauma And A Kid’s Companion

Although usually associated with raging hormones and coming to grips with becoming a young adult, adolescents can feel separated from their peers during this difficult time in their life. Often bonding with a pet will help them to feel like they always have at least one friend in the world who is always there for them, won’t judge them and is simple available to be their companion.

Important Answers

According to sources, who have studied how animals have helped those who are suffering with depression and anxiety, some solutions are more simplistic and straightforward. For example:

  • Since animals need to be fed, cared for and exercised regularly, this can give those caregivers struck down with depression or anxiety an incentive to be more motivated.
  • Some who have mental health issues may feel easily threatened by humans, but animals offer unconditional love along with a complete lack of judgment, leaving them with a sense of ease and comfort.
  • Animals also help those who feel cut off from others due to the grip of their mental illness and the type of connection they feel with a pet helps to bridge this gap, especially given the presence of the internet and other technological forms of disconnection.
  • For those who may have problems with paranoia or the onset of panic attacks, an animal’s natural protective instincts keep those intruders at bay, regardless of certain people who may have innocent intentions.

Think of it this why, providers of service animals always warn the general public not to pet or interact with these animals while they are at work. They’re performing a job, and this type of distraction can be dangerous to the animal and their master, depending upon the circumstance.

Service With A Smile

Often when we think of a service dog, we may imagine an animal assisting someone who is either wheelchair bound or those canines engaged with a military or police career. But these larger breeds aren’t the only ones who help those in need. Regardless of their size, a larger German Shepherd in full commando mode can be just as helpful to a police officer as a tiny terrier could be to someone suffering from something like PTSD (or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

As a matter of fact, when it comes to dealing with PTSD, groups like K9 For Warriors are filling a much-needed void with matching veterans with service dogs that help them tackle this type of debilitating dilemma. Sometimes a flesh wound will heal much faster than damage to a dedicated, disciplined soldier’s brain, their mental state and overall well-being.

When these soldiers return home, they may experience little support from the government, some of them feel disconnected with their families and friends. But a furry little companion will give them the hope, strength and connection they need to move forward with their lives.

Along with some recent unrealistic and bias stigmas that are often attached to those suffering from mental health problems, it’s time to put these antiquated illusions to rest. Sometimes a companion animal, a furry, happy little face, along with everyday examples of unconditional love can do wonders for people regardless of their mental state.


Author_Amy_2Amy Williams is a journalist based in Southern California. As a mother of two, she hopes to use her experience as a parent to help other parents raise their children to be the best that they can be.

 


 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

by Fernanda Barragan, Crisis Services Associate

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

It may be surprising that 1 out of every 3 adolescents in the U.S. has been a victim of abuse from a partner. Too many times we equate dating violence with physical abuse, when in fact there are many other ways that a person can harm someone.

By educating ourselves and being vigilant, we can fight dating violence together.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical: Non accidental injury.
    • Ex: Hitting, kicking slapping, punching, burning, pulling hair, chocking, throwing, and shoving.
    • Actions including kicking or punching, walls, doors, and other objects, or destruction of property are also a part of physical abuse.
  • Emotional: Actions or statements that exploit another’s vulnerability or insecurity.
    • Ex: Name calling, spreading rumors, criticizing, confusing, disregarding, ignoring, neglecting, and attacking self-worth and self-esteem.
  • Verbal: Any abusive language to denigrate, embarrass or threaten. Similar to emotional.
    • Ex: Name calling, yelling, screaming, shaming, criticizing, threatening, and negative comparisons.
  • Control: A way for someone to maintain dominance.
    • Ex: Monitoring phone calls, controlling freedom (hair style, clothing or makeup), showing up unexpectedly, and not allowing someone to have space or alone time.
  • Isolation: Separating someone from everyone else.
    • Ex: Keeping someone from want to do, seeing who they want to see.
  • Sexual: Any non-consensual sex act.
    • Ex: Fondling, penetration, intercourse, exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, and forced observation of sexual acts. Also referred to as sexual assault, or rape.

Sometimes it is important for people to have alone time, and it is ok to want alone time. It is also ok to want to spend time with loved ones, and no one should make you feel like it is wrong or stop you from doing that. It is not ok for a person to make someone else feel bad about themselves, in healthy relationships people should love and bring each other up, not put each other down.

No one has the right to touch you if you do not want to be touched. You are not obligated to be sexual with anyone even if you are dating. You have the right to say “no” at ANY TIME.

Parents and Friends

It is important to have open conversations with your children and/or friends about healthy relationships and the things to watch out for in unhealthy ones.

Healthy relationships, not just romantic ones, include these core values: Communication, Respect, Trust, Equality, and Personal Space. You can learn more about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships right here on our website.

If you’re worried about someone, ask questions. Assure them that they can talk to you if they need help establishing what behaviors make up a healthy relationship.

Finally, pay attention to behaviors.

Things to look for.

  • Partner is possessive or extremely jealous.
  • Unexplained marks or bruises.
  • Excessive phone calls, emails, and texts.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Withdrawal from interests and extracurricular activities.
  • Declining grades.
  • Doesn’t spend time with loved ones.
  • Dresses differently.

How YOU can Help:

There are a variety of ways to help your loved ones. Ask, listen, and support them through this hard time. It is very important that they know that what is happening to them is NOT their fault.

  • Trust that they are telling you the truth, abuse is a hard thing to talk about and it takes a lot of courage to say that someone they love is hurting them physically or emotionally.
  • Show concern. It is ok to tell them that you are worried about them and want them to be safe.
  • Talk about the behaviors that are happening, rather than putting their partner down.
    • It is important to remember that the partner may still be someone they love, and those feelings should be respected.
    • Teenagers sometimes have a false picture of what makes up a relationship. Explain that abuse is not love.
  • Ultimately whatever decision is made, it must come from them.
    • The victim must decide what actions they want to take, but share your thoughts on how you feel they should be treated and respected.
  • Educate yourself on teen dating violence. Learn what resources are available in your community.
  • If you are scared for the immediate safety of a loved one, call 911.

For more information on how to help a teen in your life, visit loveisrespect.org or The National Crime Prevention Council.

Teens

Reaching out is hard, especially when the person who is hurting you is someone you love. Remember that in healthy relationships there is respect, boundaries, and support. If you are unsure if you are in an unhealthy relationship, you can read up more on how to proceed on our website. And you can visit loveisrespect.org for more information.

If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, and you need help, please reach out. You are worthy, it is not your fault.

There is help and there is hope.

Teen Lifeline is here to listen and help. 602-248-TEEN (8336).

10 Ways You Can Help – Part 2!

We’re continuing our series on 30 ways you can support Teen Lifeline during our 30th anniversary year!

This time we’re taking a look at 10 more ways you can support us, based on if you’re a teen or an adult!

10_ways_to_help_v25 Ways You Can Support Teen Lifeline (as a teen!)

1. Reach out to a friend and suggest they call Teen Lifeline!

One of the most important things you can do if you’re worried about a friend, is to reach out to them and suggest they call Teen Lifeline if they’re struggling. Check out some of previous blog posts to learn how to learn more on what to do if you’re worried about a friend.

2. Volunteer to be a Peer Counselor!

Are you the type of person everyone confides in? Do you enjoy helping others? Want to help people on a bigger scale? Then consider joining the Teen Lifeline family and becoming a Peer Counselor! Learn more HERE!

3. Invite your friend to volunteer at Teen Lifeline with you!

Signing up to volunteer? Bring your best friend along and help save lives together!

4. Buy/Sell Teen Lifeline Bracelets!

We have opportunities available where you can buy/sell Teen Lifeline bracelets in your school. Some restrictions may apply, so contact Nick at nick@teenlifeline.org if you’re interested!

5. Invite your friends to a Teen Lifeline event!

On Friday, September 9th, we’re holding a FREE community rally in support of the Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Bring your friends and stop by Tempe Marketplace where they’ll be live music from 3NATIONS, drawings, giveaways and the chance to learn more about resources in the community and how YOU can save a life.


5 Ways You Can Support Teen Lifeline (as an adult!)

1. Invite our Prevention Team to share lifesaving info at your child’s school!

IMG_7290Want Teen Lifeline in your son or daughter’s school? Contact your school administrators and encourage them to reach out to us! We provide a variety of FREE presentations to help students  with stress/coping, grief/loss, depression/suicide and a variety of other topics.

2. Place a link to Teen Lifeline in your e-signature

Whether business or personal, add “Proud to Support Teen Lifeline!” and a link to our website (www.teenlifeline.org) in your email signature!

3. Share Teen Lifeline’s info with your own mailing list

Do you own an e-mailing list? Share Teen Lifeline’s information with your recipients!

4. Show some love on Social Media!

Let people know YOU support Teen Lifeline by linking to our Facebook, Twitter,or Instagram accounts!

5. Donate your services for auction items or for use at Teen Lifeline’s facility.

Are you a graphic designer? Own your own carpet cleaning business? Drive a limo? Whatever your field of service is, consider donating some of your time and/or services for auction packages at our events! Contact Amanda Dailey at amanda@teenlifeline.org for more information!
For any other general questions about ways you can help Teen Lifeline contact our Donor Relations Coordinator, Nick Shivka, at nick@teenlifeline.org!

Back To School Anxiety and How To Help It

Back to School Anxiety

After a few weeks, summer vacation for teens across the country is coming to a close. Hopefully this summer vacation has been a good one with Pokémon Go being released and all. Many teens might be thrilled to go back to school where they are able to see their friends and pick back up in sports, clubs, or other school activities. However, for a portion of those same teens, this return to school may come with a great deal of stress and anxiety. Especially with teens that may experience bullying or have been ostracized in the past due to their appearance, style, sexuality, etc., returning back to school may be especially difficult.

Even those students that don’t experience difficulties at school and are genuinely excited to go back may experience high levels of stress as they prepare to start a new school year. A lot of these students are expected to achieve incredible things which can make them feel an increase in pressure from their parents, friends, and themselves. It’s important to note that teens that strive to achieve a lot, even if they choose to do so voluntarily, may still experience these emotions at the possibility of falling short of their goals.

Likewise, if a teen is starting a new school due to moving, transferring, or graduating, going back to school can be especially difficult. There might be a lot of unanswered questions such as: will I find friends? Will I like my teachers? Will I enjoy the school in general? Teens who are in this situation may silently agonize over the various possibilities for this year. Or, on the other hand, they might be ignoring the idea of a new school all together making it more difficult when they realize school is starting.
Back To School Anxiety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a teen, or you know a teen, that might be feeling some stress and anxiety about this upcoming school year, here are some ways that you can help reduce those feelings.

Remember the basics

When we are stressed or feeling high levels of anxiety, it is easy to forget some of the basic things that you do to make sure that you are in the right state of mind.

First and foremost, it is important to make sure you get enough quality food in your diet, and that you get good sleep. Being hungry and sleepy does not go well with being stressed or anxious. It is only going to make you feel worse and be less prepared to handle it in your life.

Likewise, don’t forget your coping skills! As we talked about in a similar post, coping skills are things that you do for fun that make you feel better when you are feeling sad, angry, stressed out, or an array of other negative emotions. Coping skills are things such as reading, writing, listening to music, jogging, biking, playing video games, watching Vine and YouTube videos, drawing, singing, etc. Basically, if you find it fun to do and you feel that they make you feel better, they are coping skills. Don’t forget those things during this time. If you are feeling overwhelming stress and anxiety, make sure to make use of them.

Communication

If you are a teen, remember that communication is very important. It is imperative that you fall back on the people that have been your support system all along. This may include parents, family members, teachers, counselors, friends, or anyone that you trust. Go to these people and talk to them openly and honestly about the fears that you may have about this new school year. If you haven’t been at least hinting at it already, keeping all of that stress and anxiety bottled up can make things more difficult for you. A lot of teens experience a sense of relief when they talk about things like this.

If you are an adult in a teen’s life who you suspect is going through some of this, approach them and encourage them to talk to you, or someone else, about everything that is going on. Sometimes all it takes is for an adult to simply reach out and show concern for a teen to open up and talk about things they have been holding back.

Stay Positive

Your thoughts and mentality towards the upcoming year can definitely have an impact on how you are feeling. Instead of thinking about all of the bad things that could happen once school starts back up again, perhaps think about some of the good things. Instead of thinking about the fact that you might not be making any friends, think about how you made friends in the past and how you can do that again this time. Instead of thinking about all the time your extracurricular activities will take this year, perhaps think about all of the amazing places and events you will be able to go to because of these activities. It may sound simple to focus on the more positive aspects, and in practice it can absolutely be difficult to do, but those changes can have an amazing effect on you.

Call Teen Lifeline

And, finally, if you find that all of the above possibilities don’t work for you, or you feel that you aren’t able to even attempt them, call us (or in AZ text 602-248-TEEN) here at Teen Lifeline. We understand that what may work for some people may not necessarily work for you. When you call Teen Lifeline the Peer Counselors here will help you figure out what works best in your life. The Counselors will assist you in making a plan that you can follow to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that you might be feeling. The awesome thing about the people that answer the phone here at Teen Lifeline is that they are all teens just like you, between the ages of 15 and 19. They too are going back to school and a lot of them have experienced what you are feeling. So don’t be afraid of calling us thinking that whoever you talk to won’t be able to understand because, trust me, they will. Remember, you are not alone.


Luis BarceloFor the past four years Luis Barcelo has volunteered thousands of hours for Teen Lifeline as a Peer Counselor. Now, as an adult volunteer and communications intern at Teen Lifeline, he hopes to continue helping struggling teens wherever they may be.


 

Risk Factors of Suicide

In an earlier post, we talked about the signs of suicide. If you recall, these are common expressions that often point to the possibility that a teen might be suicidal. Today we will talk about “risk factors”. Risk factors are related to signs in that they are red flags that wave at you telling you “Hey! Watch out for this person, they have the potential to be suicidal.”

Specifically, risk factors are things, usually circumstantial in nature, which put a teen at higher risk of developing suicidal thoughts. They might come in many different forms, but they all are things that, if a teen in your life is experiencing, you should try to keep an extra close eye on for the actual signs of suicide.

Why someone might be suicidal?

There are about as many reasons to feel suicidal as there are people on Earth. However, I think it is important to understand what might be going through the mind of someone who is suicidal in order to understand what makes certain situations “risk factors”. Very rarely do people that are suicidal feel that their suicidal feelings are the actual problem. In fact, often times, suicide is the solution that they have identified to some problem in their life. Risk factors are those problems that might make a teen feel so overwhelmed that they see no other solution than taking their own life. So, when thinking about what might be a risk factor for a teen, remember that these risk factors are things that a teen might see as a problem “too big to handle.”

Risk Factors of Suicide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Factors

One risk factor that is common among teens include a serious loss. A serious loss can come in many shapes. A death of a close family member, friend, or even a pet can be considered a serious loss in the life of a teen. Especially if it is a loss of something that is dear to the individual; a loss can be life-shattering. However, don’t restrict your idea of a loss to death. Loss can be many other things besides the death of a loved one.

Other types of loss include:

  • Health
    • Loss of health happens when an individual’s health prevents them from keeping the life that they currently have. For example, this would be an individual who has seen great success as a basketball player, but is now unable to continue in his career due to an injury or other health related problem. Another example is someone who enjoyed going to school and spending time with friends, but is now restricted to her home due to an illness.
  • Breakups
    • As an adult it can be easy to brush off the pain that comes with a break-up. After all, most adults have probably gone through a break-up before they see their kids have their own. It is important to remember, however, that a breakup for a teen can be as devastating as a divorce for an adult. Teens don’t have the same life experiences that most adults have and are dealing with these emotions for the first time.
  • College
    • As we discussed previously, the transition from high school to college can be incredibly stressful. If a teen is moving away to another city or state for college, this stress might be increased. This type of loss could be defined as a loss of lifestyle. College drastically changes the lifestyle that many teens have enjoyed for almost two decades. On top of that, add the fact that they might be leaving behind people that they love and it is easy to see how a young adult may feel overwhelmed by this transition.

History of suicide is another risk factor that is important to watch out for. A history of suicide means that the teen has known someone personally that attempted suicide or died by suicide. Additionally, it may also mean that the person themselves has attempted suicide before. Either of these scenarios puts the teen at a higher risk of suicide because it has now been introduced as an acceptable way to deal with one’s problems. If a teen has attempted suicide before and they still feel as trapped as they did then, it might be easy to attempt again.

Troublesome behavior may also be a risk factor. This includes alcohol as well as other drugs. Additionally, getting in trouble frequently, having disciplinary problems, and engaging in high-risk behavior are also risk factors that you should watch out for.

A psychiatric disorder can additionally be seen as a risk factor. Specifically, depression and trauma/stress related disorders are risk factors in teens. Dealing with these types of psychiatric disorders can be daunting. In fact, it can be difficult for the entire family and friends of the individual. A teen might feel that their condition or life is never going to get better, or they might fear that it might get worse if their disorder worsens. For this reason, suicide can become an option.

Some aspects of a social life can also be risk factors. If a teen is being bullied at school, the teen is at a higher risk of suicide. Bullying can be very impactful in a teen’s life, and it might seem like an unfixable problem. Likewise, a teen who has a lot of pressure to meet high standards, such as good grades, run school clubs, organize and participate in school activities, etc. may start to feel overwhelmed. Remember, no matter what “type” a teen is, there are always circumstances that can easily become overwhelming.

And finally, lack of social support (whether perceived or real) is another risk factor. If a teen doesn’t feel they have the necessary people in their life to help them through difficult times, suicide might become an option versus talking to a close family member and figuring out a different solution with a friend.

Preventative Actions

If you fear that your child or friend might be at risk, there are some things that can help prevent the teen from reaching the point where suicide becomes an option for them.

Communication is a preventative action that can be very effective. If you notice, a lot of risk factors have to do with problems that may be perceived as incredibly complex. This is part of the reason that someone might become suicidal; death might seem simpler than any solution that the teen has thought about. However, good communication and a good connection with family members and friends, promotes the idea of speaking about feelings and finding alternative solutions.

Good Family and Friends Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Likewise, helping a teen garner and hone problem solving skills is another form of preventative action. Teens that have good problem solving skills are able to solve bigger problems than their peers that may not have the same skills. With these problem solving skills, they are able to think of different solutions to suicide that they might not have thought about if they didn’t have those specific skills.

Another preventative action can be restricting the teen from engaging in behavior that may put him at risk such as alcohol, drugs, and other behavior outlined above. This can keep the teen stay safe. In the same way, restricting a teen from access to highly lethal means of suicide can help.

Lastly, another preventive action is to ensure that the teen has many adequate resources to help with their mental health. If you recall, psychiatric disorders are a risk factor. If your teen has a disorder like this, it is important that they find professional help so that they can handle it better. However, resources shouldn’t be restricted to just teens that have a psychiatric disorder. Help can be found for anyone dealing with any sort of problem.

This is where Teen Lifeline comes in. If you know a teen or a friend that you fear might be at risk for suicide, they can call Teen Lifeline to talk about those problems. Our Peer Counselors are extensively and specifically trained to help. When someone calls, we are prepared to talk to them about anything that is going on in their life, and we are able to help them figure out the best way they can deal with problems.

If you know someone who could use Teen Lifeline, don’t hesitate to give them our number (602-248-TEEN) so that they can receive the help they need.


Luis BarceloFor the past four years Luis Barcelo has volunteered thousands of hours for Teen Lifeline as a Peer Counselor. Now, as an adult volunteer and communications intern at Teen Lifeline, he hopes to continue helping struggling teens wherever they may be.