Gail Kramer, School Nurse
WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL
Please keep your child at home if he or she has:
a fever over 100° during the past 24 hours
a cold in the active stages, i.e. coughing, running, sneezing
a sore throat and/or swollen neck glands
an undiagnosed rash or skin eruptions
vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours
head lice that haven’t been treated
Since school health rooms are not equipped to accommodate sick children and since crowded health rooms lead to further spread of disease, it is imperative that sick children be kept at home. It is also crucial that parents make every effort to pick up children as soon as possible when notified by school personnel. Changes in emergency phone numbers should be made immediately.
Talking or learning more about suicide and how to prevent it can be a difficult conversation, but a very important one. The school nurses in each building are available to help families access mental health resources available in our community.
Suicide (i.e., taking one's own life) is a serious public health problem that affects a wide range of people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost nationwide each year. The top three methods used in suicides of young people include firearm (45%), suffocation (40%), and poisoning (8%).
More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. In Newton, 9 percent of high school students have seriously thought about suicide, according to data from the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Comparatively, 16 percent of students nationwide reported seriously considering suicide. 8 percent of high school students nationwide reported trying to take their own life as compared to 4 percent of Newton high school students reported attempting suicide.
While suicide can affect youth of all groups, boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys.
Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not mean that suicide will occur. Risk factors include:
History of previous suicide attempts
Family history of suicide
History of depression or other mental illness
Alcohol or drug abuse
Stressful life event or loss
Easy access to lethal methods
Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
People who attempt suicide often display one or more of the following warning signs:
Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
Talking about a specific suicide plan
Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
Having the feeling of being a burden to others
Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others
Acting irritable or agitated
Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real
Many people who attempt suicide talk about their intention with someone else. If you know someone who needs help, there are many resources available. In Newton, Riverside Emergency Services can be reached at (800) 529-5077 and the MSPP Interface (617) 332-3666 x1411. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). And as always, 911 is available for emergencies.
Information adapted from www.cdc.gov/features/preventingsuicide and www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs.