Teens on the Suncoast learn suicide prevention skills
SARASOTA - "This isn’t an easy conversation. Obviously talking about suicide is not something that’s just simple, it’s not a walk in the park," says certified SafeTALK trainer Leigh Herskovich-Ioffe. She leads the difficult conversation to a room full of teens training to become suicide alert helpers.
"If you ask someone what’s wrong and they say oh yeah my life is falling apart I’m thinking about killing myself, that’s very clear that they’re asking for help. In most cases they’re not going to do that, especially teenagers, so what they do is they show us through behaviors," says Herskovich-Ioffe.
She teaches recognizing these behaviors, known as invitations and TALK; in other words Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe.
“You know if they become erratic, or moody, they’re disconnecting from their friends, they’re engaging in risky behavior, drugs, alcohol,. giving their stuff away. Those are all invitations, those are all signs that are saying I’m inviting you to recognize that I’m asking for help, please ask me if I need help," explains Herskovich-Ioffe.
The Philadelphia based teacher says suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers between 15-18; a staggering statistic which participant Mia Schneider understands all too well.
“Suicide is so much more common than you think and so much more preventable than you think. That’s the goal is to educate, even if somebody doesn’t have to use their training we want people to have the training so they have it in case they do need. If you don’t have the training and you don’t know how to help somebody people’s lives are at risk," says Schneider.
Schneider hopes hosting the class will help the grassroots movement to remove the stigma attached with suicide.
Herskovich-Ioffe ends the SafeTALK class with this piece of advice when it comes to being a suicide alert helper; “Always take it seriously until proven otherwise.”
Visit SarasotaChabad.com/safetalk for more information on future SafeTALK workshops.