District and community work to prevent suicide
December 2, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Alan Torres
Experts on teen mental health from around the Salem area came to McNary on November 13, to talk about suicide prevention.
“When I hear suicide it brings back sad memories,” said Mrs. Erin Nichols, lead counselor at Claggett Creek Middle School. She said that Sprague had a suicide earlier this year, and while it was a tragic event it led to a good response in an important conversation.
When she hears suicide she thinks of adults supporting their kids and the students who come forward to get help for their friends. Suicide ideation is a fact of life, but suicide completion doesn’t have to be.
Mr. Ben Handrich, a counselor at McNary reiterated the importance of conversations involving suicide. He said they have a lot of community partners from Marion and Polk county with resources to help prevent suicide. But kids need to help form connections and we need whole schools to step up, hear parent concerns, and be voices.
Handrich said the number one resource for a depressed kid is their school counselor, and their number two resource is other kids. Kids are more comfortable talking to their friends, if a parent find out their child is depressed they should tell their child’s friends, and if a student finds out their friend is depressed they should tell their counselor.
Miss Juanita Aniceto is a youth peer support specialist at Youth ERA. She said suicide ideation is reported at her center a lot. Usually parents or friends of a suicidal teen will find out through snapchat or texting and they will call her center.
Youth ERA gives teens people to talk to. But she said it’s good for the parent or friend to have that conversation with the teen as well.
Aniceto also recommended the SafeOregon app if you want to report depression anonymously.
Miss Pamela Marx is a crisis youth peer support specialist at Youth ERA who outlined more of the services Youth ERA offers.
They offer one-on-ones where teens can talk with Marx, Aniceto, or one of their co-workers. They’ll go out for coffee or hiking, or whatever the teen enjoys. Everyone who works in this department of ERA aren’t much older than the teens they work with, and they can build a relationship with them.
They also offer various services at the center itself. Including snacks, coffee, a computer lab with a 3D printer that will sometimes host esports events, a karaoke station, a pool table, a PlayStation, and a TV.
Marx said that Youth ERA is always working with the youth community to prevent suicide and depression. They’re also always looking for more young adults to help out with the program.
Marx is currently working on a book as a guide for people with suicidal thoughts and she hopes to drive youth to be more open and confident.
Marx and Aniceto invited youth to visit the Salem drop center at 246 State St. Salem, OR 97301
Salem Health will be holding two more workshops like this in December. One will be in Spanish on Wednesday December 5, 5:30pm at Marion County Health and Human Services. The other will be in English on Saturday December 15, 10am at Salem Hospital Building D.