Youth Suicide and Self-Harm
Admittedly, the topic of suicide and self-harm amongst children is a difficult conversation to have. But, in a world where more and more people of all ages are reportedly taking their own lives, we need to educate and support young people so they can realise their potential.
Thomas Kelly Foundation
The Thomas Kelly Foundation was created in 2012 after 18-year-old Thomas was killed in Sydney’s Kings Cross. The initial focus of the foundation was to reduce violence associated with alcohol. The foundation has morphed into an educational body that aims to maximise awareness and prevention of self-harm and suicide prevention.
Stay Kind Initiative
Recently, the Stay Kind initiative was begun by the Thomas Kelly Foundation and received considerable media attention. Its core focus is increasing awareness of strategies that young people and their families can engage in to get through tough times and come out on the other side as stronger and cared for people. The Stay Kind initiative will promote the prevention of suicide and self-harm amongst young people through:
- Promoting awareness of the importance of communication, listening with intent, youth vulnerability, and respect
- Run campaigns publicising better behaviour and communication strategies that encourage the creation of empathetic and caring environments
How Can Parents Support The Stay Kind Initiative
- Model empathy and compassion – as a parent, your actions, and behaviours as a parent don’t go unnoticed by your kids. So, next time you find yourself criticising or critiquing the imperfections or inadequacies of others, place greater emphasis on the courage and bravery of others who have a go and put themselves out there.
- Engage in acts of kindness with your kids – from offering to pick up your friend’s kids from school, to breaking bread with other families or assisting a neighbour or family member with their shopping and other errands, you can instill model kindness in your kids.
- Be alert and aware but not alarmed – your kids have many tell tale signs of the mood they are in. Taking note of their mood swings can help you detect whether or not your kids are crying out for help with their mental welfare. To do this, engage in various forms of communication with your child such as speaking face to face, observing from a distance, text messaging, emailing or video calling. Your kids will appreciate your effort to reach out even if they are reluctant to fully open up.
- Financial support – parents can donate to the initiative and directly fund promotional campaigns and educational resources that the Stay Kind initiative produces. Visit www.staykind.org.au to donate today.