Here we go again. Another youth, another set of suicidal thoughts. This one reached out to a friend last night who in turn took her by the hand to speak to one of my Divisional Officers. This officer then escalated it to me.
Unfortunately – or Fortunately depending on the way you look at it – I can’t keep it quiet for her. I mean, obviously I won’t go around telling her peers, but her parents are going to need to know and I am obligated not to keep silent about this.
She became angry when she was informed of these child protection rules, so we are holding off long enough to liaise with her school counselor. It’ll be a delicate situation to handle for sure.
Youth suicide is approximately three times higher in our territory than any other state in Australia. While the majority are indigenous youths – they are little more than double the non-indigenous rates – the numbers are just too high to be in this girl’s favor. Though apparently the non-indigenous rates of suicide are starting to decrease.
I could guess at all the reasons we have such a high rate here in the Northern Territory re: indigenous youths; I suppose I could also guess for the non-indigenous youth as well – but I don’t know why it would be any different from any other small remote area. Just about every teen knows eachother here, regardless of school. There’s rampant bullying and once rumors start they spread like wildfire and don’t die even when proven wrong. Not to mention being in a small town with no ease of access to more urban areas… Literally 16 hour drives in either direction to get to the big cities, or horrendous plane ticket prices.
But you’d think that – since suicides in, say, Scandinavia often revolve around winter months and seasonal defective disorder because of the lack of sun that here in Central Australia where the sun shines almost non-stop – we’d have a better survival rate than we do.
So what do we do??
Anyway… Those were just a few thoughts for today. Also, as a side note: I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but there was a week last year in which three of my cadets on three different occasions thwarted attempted suicides for three different friends. A couple of them took away the mechanism of injury and called emergency services while they sat with them and hugged them, another drove his friend to the Emergency Department and sat with her all night. …Way to make your superintendent proud, kids.