Suicide is a serious issue in the adoption community.
We’ve all been affected by it. I work with adopted adults and teens who struggle with it, it’s happening in families, to classmates, and others in the community.
Some have been suicidal and made attempts, others have contemplated it in more briefly. Some are talking about it with those who matter, others are not. Some are getting the help they need while others aren’t. It’s happening all over the schools, especially the high schools and colleges. The numbers are rising, yet, it’s extremely difficult to talk about. People talk amongst themselves, families grieve, schools gather together to try to regroup, but that’s not enough.
If you’re an adoptive parent, even if your adopted child, teen or young adult is not suicidal, they are likely to encounter it at some point in their life, and then it will be personal. It’s a scary topic, a taboo topic as if talking about it will make it come true somehow. That’s not the case. Just like talking about safe sex doesn’t give kids permission to have sex, talking about suicide won’t increase the chances of it happening.
But, if you don’t know what to look for, how to find the help that you need, how to talk to your daughter or son about their feelings, whether about them or about someone else, you’re not providing what they need from you. They look to you for guidance.
If you’re an adult adoptee, as I am, you may feel alone, but you’re not. Everything is more bearable if you remember that you’re not the only one.
If you’re a clinician, as I am, your comfort level with these issues has to be much higher than the average person. And, it’s not enough just to assess for suicidality. It’s about understanding someone in that vulnerable moment when they feel suicidal. In this day and age, it’s necessary for you to know how adoptees might be more vulnerable and how best to respond to them in a supportive, compassionate way.
I will be facilitating a webinar about this topic on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, right after the Thanksgiving weekend. Seating is limited. I will share what I’ve learned about the intersection of adoption and suicidality including statistics, specific adoption themes as they relate to this issue, and guidance about what to say and signs to look for.
This webinar is for everyone because this issue affects everyone.