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Resources and ways parents can connect to their teenager regarding suicide and prevention

Today’s guest is Jonathan Singer who is an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago’s school of social work and the founder and host of the Social Work Podcast. He is the author of dozens of publications, including the 2015 book “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.” Jonathan has been a practicing social worker for 20 years and has spent much of that time working with suicidal youth and their families. He’s a Hoosier by birth and graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, IN. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife and three kids.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Examples of how parents can communicate with their teenager about concerns of suicide
  • Breaking a myth around suicide
  • Resources available for parents, teens and mental health professionals

Jonathan’s experience with working with suicidal folks

  • He is a teacher and researcher
  • Working with folks who are suicidal for years
  • Uses family system perspective
    • LGBT teens can be higher risk if there is no family support
  • Trained in attachment based family therapy
    • He described rupture/break between child and parents
    • Uses a structured approach
    • Explore both sides of where break happens
    • Kids doesn’t have to come to parent for everything except when kid is talking about suicide


  • Stats are from looking at all Americans
  • 43,000 suicides in 2014
  • Hard to compare state to state-can look at American Association of Suicidology which share data once a year
    • 65 and older-rate is 16.6 per 100,00 or 21 suicides per day
    • 45 to 64-rate is 19.5 per 100,000 or 45 suicides per day
    • young is 15 to 24 yrs old-rate is 11.6 per 100,000 or 14 per day
  • Thoughts of suicide are not normative
    • Stats show 12% of kids up to age 18 yrs old have had thoughts of suicide
    • Yet “normal enough” need to acknowledge kids talk about suicide

Breaking a myth

  • Breaking the myth that speaking about suicide will make person suicidal
  • It is ok to bring up the topic with your child and explore if they have had friends talk about suicide
  • Jonathan gives examples of what parents can say to their teen
  • Role modeling shows you are not afraid to speak about suicide
  • Want to connect with other parents vs manage by yourself
  • Search Institute-40 Developmental Assets-shares positive indicators is parents in a community with other parents having shared parenting values
  • Can seek support from other parents/friends on Facebook and know Facebook algorithms may not rank post high
  • Jonathan discussed DOCZ app-which has peer support and health professionals available for parents needing support
  • Find out your teen’s school policies regarding suicide and mental health management
    • Does school have signs of strength (SOS) club?
    • Do they do universal screening and if they have a concern what do they do?
  • Jonathan discussed his book for mental health professionals
      • The forms are useable and copyright goes with owner of book
      • Can input data into forms


I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter because I have some upcoming announcements for teen girls and their moms. This podcast is also available on Stitcher, Google Play, YouTube and now iHeartRadio.

Jonathan’s Information:

Website: http://socialworkpodcast.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @socworkpodcast

Facebook: www.facebook.com/swpodcast

Email: jonathan.b.singer@gmail.com

Book (Affiliate Link): Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention