Let's Talk About Suicide

Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio Credits: Hellenic Therapy

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health tragedy strikes in small, tucked away, towns across America, like our community, it shakes us to the core. 

As our children grow up, we begin to understand that regardless of our diligence, despite our best efforts in shielding them from experiencing any kind of pain, we don't always succeed. We can't always succeed. More so, their pain is our pain whether it's a skinned knee or a broken heart. 

As adults we struggle to understand, to cope, to grieve. Despite the growing conversations surrounding mental health it can often be an uncomfortable subject matter -- ones that adults don't necessarily feel confident or equipped to navigate with one another. Mental health professionals are extensively educated about "do's and don’ts" when addressing and discussing suicide -- and yet, we humanly struggle with it. So how are our children doing so?

Sign Up for E-News

How do they know when common lexicons such as, "kill me" or "OMG, I want to die" are just that or cries for help? With the term depression tossed around so casually nowadays, how can they tell if their friends are just describing a common fickle, fleeting emotion or if they're truly depressed because of mental illness? 

We can encourage our children to open a conversation about depression and suicide with one another. It's important to understand that much like everything in life, the following isn't always applicable to every person and every situation. Additionally, it's important that I stress that by no means am I suggesting that had the following been discussed, the tragic loss of such an innocent, young heart could have been prevented- the only rule to suicide is that there is always an exception.

The following bullet points were taken directly from the National Suicide Prevention Course.

  • Though it seems to the contrary, asking about suicide directly is most effective most times. Talking about suicide does not create or increase risk- in fact, it reduces the risk. 
  • According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, teenagers and young adults (aged 13-34) who nearly died in a suicide attempt were asked how much time passed between the moment they decided on suicide and the attempt- 25% stated it took less than 5 minutes.  
  • Often acute suicide phases are followed by triggering events that can lead to humiliation or despair such as a bullying, a breakup, or a family disagreement.  The CDC found that 1 in 3 youth suicides followed within 24 hours of a crisis like an arrest, family argument or relationship break-up. 

Though rattling to think that suicide can be so impulsive among teens, it does suggest that for some, acute suicide phases are brief which means that a form of distraction may be enough to deter a suicide attempt. 

It may be jarring to read or even say aloud, but you or your teen can practice asking direct questions like: 

  • Sometimes when people go through that kind of situation, they think about killing themselves. Have you had thoughts like that? 
  • Even open, direct conversations don't always yield a truthful answer, especially with teens...as most of us know all too well. “Yes” can mean no and “No” can mean yes and maybe can mean just that. So you may want to ask a follow up question like, “Do you often think you or your loved ones would be better off if you were dead?”
  • Tell me about a time where you felt the absolute worst -- a time you may have felt hopeless, sad or angry. How did you handle those emotions? 
  • By asking this, you will learn something about the person's triggers and coping strategies. 
  • Do you think about how you would commit suicide? (Do you have a plan?)
  • It's important to note that not having a plan doesn't necessarily mean that the person you are concerned about isn't in fact suicidal- a good portion of attempted suicides don't follow a plan. 
  • Have you ever attempted suicide? 
  • Suicidal feelings are often episodic, sometimes lasting less than an hour. By the time you may be speaking to them, he or she may not feel suicidal, but after the next big setback, that person may spiral back to a suicidal state. 

If you or your teen find concerning answers, it's important to get medical attention right away. You can do this by simply dialing 9-1-1 or by calling a free resource like, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours.  Call us at 908-322-0112 or visit www.hellenictherapy.com.

If you have a question for the Ask Maria column, please email evangelos914@aol.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


17-Year-Old Academy for Information Technology Student Dies; GoFundMe Page Established to Help Family

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seventeen -year-old Fenov Pierre-Louis, a Roselle resident and student at Union County's Academy for Information Technology, lost his battle with stage 4 Nueroblastoma cancer this week.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. 

Diagnosed when he was a second grader, Fenov fought the disease for about half of his lifetime, ...

Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman, as county manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Businesses Report Thefts & More

July 18, 2018

July 11,2018 3:50 p.m.

A business located on the 100 block of Central Avenue reports being the victim of a theft. Unknown actor came into the business and removed $2,200.00 worth of property.

July 12, 2018 2:40 a.m.

Danny Burke, age 32, of Edison, NJ was arrested for driving while intoxicated pursuant a motor vehicle stop. Subject was arrested, processed and released to a ...

Kid Make Their Own Pizza

July 21, 2018

Parents, looking for something special and fun for your kids on the weekend?

Emma's now hosting kids make their own pizza on the weekends. Also we are now booking kid parties!

IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

The IRS plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version – would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. 


This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Picking up the Pieces – The Benefits of Account Consolidation

Over a lifetime of investing we often have numerous accounts located at different financial firms.  Rarely are these accounts managed with a grand plan that takes into account all the individual pieces.   Account proliferation can be detrimental to your investment performance, increase your risk profile, and lighten your pocketbook.  

Account consolidation offers the ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

Dog Found in Garwood

UPDATE: Reunited with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Dog found on Pine Avenue in Garwood. He was given food and water. Garwood police now has him. Sweet and friendly. Contact the Garwood Police Department.

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

Livingston Council Votes on Ordinance to Prohibit Vape Shops

July 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Concern about the increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products were among the reasons why the Livingston Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting “vape shops,” or any establishment that primarily sells “electronic devices, liquid nicotine or vapor products,” in the township’s retail commercial ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more