Letter: ‘None of us is alone’ in HastingsThe staff at Hastings High School is doing a great job of helping our children in the wake of the recent suicides that have affected our community.
To the editor,
The staff at Hastings High School is doing a great job of helping our children in the wake of the recent suicides that have affected our community. Professionals from the Hastings and neighboring school districts are working with students to quell their fears and guide them to get the help and support that they need. Youth pastors from area churches and mental health professionals from our community have joined the effort, as well. Children who are at high risk for suicide are being identified. Their parents are being contacted and are being provided with the resources to further protect their children.
Many other parents want to ensure that their children are safe, and they are right to be concerned. There have been two suicides and a number of fatal accidents involving Hastings youth within the past six months. When a community is hit with tragedies such as these, vulnerable teens are sometimes tempted to take their own lives. There are some things parents can do to keep their children safe.
If you feel your child is at risk, the best way to assure your child’s safety is to contact a mental health professional for further assessment. Mental health professionals are trained to listen to your concerns and give guidance about your child. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Dakota County Crisis line is available 24/7, 365 days a year at 952-891-7171. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a website. (Search “Suicide In Youth” on the NAMI website for information on risk factors and symptoms of teens at risk for suicide.)
Parents can also model self-care for children by sharing feelings with other adults. Let the kids see you taking care of yourself emotionally, and it will teach them to take care of themselves.
Our community has experienced a series of very distressing events. Talk with the teens that you know. Listen to them without giving advice. We can band together to respond as a community. During a meeting of the professionals at the high school someone suggested that we come up with a bracelet that signifies our support. “Hastings Strong” was suggested as a possible motto. That’s a great idea, and we can come up with more.
Suicide preys on those who are isolated. We live in a good and strong community. Let us join together and know that none of us is alone.