Regular Features:
Edition 11
Spring 2010

From the Editor's Desk

This has been a difficult edition to put together. As Deb aptly puts it, a young person wanting to die - trying to die - is very hard to bear. It is one of the most challenging, affecting presentations for counsellors to have to deal with.

The risk factors for suicide are complex. They include mental illness, stressful life events, alienation from others, or an attempt to end unmanageable pain. Many young people from refugee backgrounds present with these risk factors and more. In the school context, concerns around matriculation issues - especially at this time of the year – can often heighten anxiety and be very stressful for young people.

I hope that the following pieces will provide you with some helpful hints to understand broadly the main issues and where to access further information and resources.

Until the next one,

Max Schneider signature hintsforhealing@startts.org.au
Next month
Deb's digest
Deb Gould
> Deb Gould is a STARTTS Clinical Psychologist and
clinical supervisor.

Suicidal children and young people One of the most confronting issues for any counsellor is child suicide. It is very hard to hear a child wanting to die, trying to die. Of course children think about death. We encourage them to learn about it, accept it, and talk about it when someone dies. Learn more >>

Suicide & Suicide Prevention: Some of the Facts

>Sara Maxwell is the Research and Policy Development Coordinator with Suicide Prevention Australia

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people under 34. Suicide attempts and self harm are much more common for young people than middle aged or older people, with 7-14% of adolescents self harming at some stage (Hawton and James 2005). Death by suicide is much more frequent in males (approx 4 times), while suicide attempts and self harm are much more common in females. Learn more >>

Suicide Prevention In Schools

> Roger Stonehouse is the former leader, Psychological Services, for the Student Counselling Unit in DET.
Schools are a key factor in preventing suicide by young people. By providing a physically safe, emotionally secure environment, and access to staff who care for their welfare, schools lessen the likelihood of students developing mental health problems and provide effective support for those who may develop these problems. There are many policies that underpin the school’s suicide prevention activities.
Learn more >>
Suicide Risk Assessments

> Amanda Thompson is a social worker currently working in the Early Intervention Program at STARTTS..
Suicide risk assessment is a practice that is often discussed in professional circles however practical application of this is often overlooked. Children and young people coming from refugee backgrounds on occasion exhibit symptoms and signs of suicide ideation. It is imperative that schools and counsellors in contact with these children and young people have the tools to appropriately respond and assess risk of suicide. Learn more >>
Case Study - Adama

> Marc Chaussivert works as a clinical psychologist and team leader at STARTTS.
Adama, a 17 yr old girl from West Africa, was referred to STARTTS by an Adolescent Mental Health Service. This Service intended to continue managing Adama’s case but looked to STARTTS to provide psychotherapy that would address her underlying trauma. Adama’s presentation was believed to be related to childhood experiences of extreme political violence and associated losses of loved ones in her country of origin.
Learn more >>
Toolkit for helping someone at risk of suicide
It is distressing to realise that someone close to you may be considering suicide. While most people who consider suicide get through the crisis, family, friends and professionals can make a big difference in helping people stay safe and re-establish reasons for living. Learn more >>
Upcoming STARTTS training
Jungle Tracks Program. This program includes five short stories that mirror real life struggles related to the lives of children, adolescents and parents with a background of refugee trauma. The stories promote hope and empowerment and assist the reader/listener to process and reconcile their past experiences and ongoing difficulties in transition. A 1-day workshop has been organised for September 17th 2010. The cost is $200. To register your interest visit our website at www.startts.org.au or telephone (02) 9794 1900.

Core Concepts in Working with Survivors of Torture & Trauma. This one-day workshop is designed to provide workers with an understanding of what refugees have been through, the impact of these traumatic experiences and the recovery process from trauma. This workshop does not cover specific clinical strategies as these are covered in the 2-day clinical workshop. The cost is $150 per person. To register your interest visit our website at www.startts.org.au or telephone (02) 9794 1900.

Connected Schools, Connected Communities - Australian Health Promoting Schools 8th National Conference. The Australian Health Promoting Schools Association is running their 8th National Conference in Perth, Western Australia in October 2010. Conference themes include engaging young people in health (young people’s perspectives; peer education) and schools as community hubs for health (health promoting schools; schools and community; increasing parent involvement). Register online via the website at www.wahpsa.org.au

The Resourceful Adolescent Program (RAP) was developed to build resilience and promote positive mental health in teenagers. The program specifically aims to prevent teenage depression and related difficulties. The Resourceful Adolescent Programs are primarily run as universal prevention programs. They are designed to be useful to all teenagers, and not only those specifically at risk for depression. The programs aim to prevent the development of future problems by promoting a range of protective factors. When: 8.30 am—4.00 pm RAP-A: Thursday September 9th 2010; RAP- B: Friday September 10th 2010. Where: The Institute of Psychiatry. $230 for one day training; $400 for both days. For more information please phone Astrid Wurfl on (07) 3138 4956 www.rap.qut.edu.au

Max Schneider
> Max is a Child & Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS and the service's School Liaison Officer.

Add me to the
mailing list! Click here

UPCOMING
STARTTS TRAINING

Jungle Tracks Program. This program includes five short stories that mirror real life struggles related to the lives of children, adolescents and parents with a background of refugee trauma.

Details >>

Core Concepts in Working with Survivors of Torture & Trauma. This one-day workshop is designed to provide workers with an understanding of what refugees have been through, the impact of these traumatic experiences and the recovery process from trauma.
Details >>

Connected Schools, Connected Communities - Australian Health Promoting Schools 8th National Conference. The Australian Health Promoting Schools Association is running their 8th National Conference in Perth, Western Australia in October 2010.
Details >>

The Resourceful Adolescent Program (RAP) was developed to build resilience and promote positive mental health in teenagers. The program specifically aims to prevent teenage depression and related difficulties.
Details >>

Hint of the month

Suicide Prevention is a key focus for Lifeline in Australia. Lifeline receives many requests and inquiries about relevant resources and links which can assist with understanding suicide prevention or helping someone at risk. The organisation has compiled a list of potentially valuable contacts, links and resources. They include suicide prevention-specific websites; resources for young people; and counselling referrals. Visit: www.lifeline.org.au for more.

Disclaimer The information contained in Hints for Healing is provided as an information source only. The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the position or views of STARTTS.  The material is provided on the basis that readers are responsible for making their own assessments of the issues discussed, and always work under clinical supervision.

© 2010 STARTTS  Contact: hintsforhealing@startts.org.au