World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is never an easy topic to discuss, whether with clients, friends, or yourself. But that conversation can also be the reason someone doesn’t follow through with a plan or learns about suicide, so they can spread information to other youth. Here are some much needed tips for successful conversations with youth about suicide.

Starting the Conversation 

  • I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately, are you doing alright?
  • For some people when they feel down, they also think about death. Are you having thoughts about wanting to die?
  • Do you have thoughts about death?
  • You’ve mentioned previous suicide attempts, everything you have going on can be really stressful, are you having thoughts about wanting to die or hurt yourself?  (OR use a specific example instead of “everything you have going on”– starting counseling, being in the crisis shelter, staying at TLP, living on the streets)

Follow Up Questions if they say ‘yes’

  • Do you want to die? Or do you want to take action to end your life? OR Have you ever thought about how you would die?
  • Is this something you think about often?
  • Does anything you do make these thoughts go away?
  • Have you thought about how you might harm yourself?
  • Can you get access to pills, guns, knifes, or other weapons easily?
  • Do you know anyone who has died by suicide?

Having the Conversation 

  • Avoid using the word “committed” suicide, instead say “died by suicide”, as this decreases the negative stigma and recognizes when someone is suffering from significant mental health — suicide is a consequence & symptom of their disease.
  • Tell them lots of people who suffer from mental illness, like depression, struggle with thoughts of death or wanting to harm themselves. These thoughts can be hard to turn off or ignore.
  • Encourage them to find positive supports and treatment.
  • Ask them how people have responded to previous suicide attempts.
  • Help them identify what they wish could be different and what they can do about it.
  • Be careful not to judgment them or make assumptions.
  • Be realistic about what you can do — do not make promises.
  • Use the word suicide and make sure they understand what it means.
  • Be their ally. Share some strengths they have. Give them resources.
  • For resources, keep reading!!!

After the conversation 

  • Make sure the client stays in sight and is away from weapons & other things that can be turned into a weapon (such as a sharpened pencil or scissors)
  • Contact on-call or (in emergencies) the police
  • If possible, ask another staff person to dial, while you stay with the client (or vise versa)
  • Use the client’s words to tell on-call or the police what risk (how likely) a client is to hurt themselves, if they have weapons or a plan
  • Safety plan with the client — this includes finding helpful activities, warning signs, and helpful adults they can call for help
  • DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!!!!

Warning Signs 

  • Change in behavior
  • Not wanting to be around others
  • Giving away possessions or saying goodbye
  • Feeling sad, down, blue, or depressed & it doesn’t get better
  • Talking about loneliness or feeling alone
  • Not thinking about their future positively or saying things like “I don’t have a future” or “what future”
  • Talk negatively about themselves — low self-esteem
  • Refuses to participate in coping skills
  • History of mental health or trauma (like abuse) – LGBTQ+ & Children who were adopted are at an increased risk for dying from suicide
  • Feeling rejected
  • Feeling hopeless , helpless, or trapped
  • Mood swings
  • Not having anywhere to go or having any supports
  • Being in an abusive relationship
  • Risky behaviors, such as drinking or doing drugs for the first time when sad
  • Goes from sad to energizer bunny happy or from happy to sad (this will appear as a cycle and often with out cause or trigger, sudden changes in mood can be signs of a more serious condition, which can increase the risk of suicide)

Remember, part of what makes suicide really hard is that most often it’s based on impulse.

 

Resources for Clients 

Lifeline # 1-800-273-8255 24/7/365

Lifeline Chat Online 24/7/365

Huck House Crisis Line 614-294-5553

OSU Students can call 614-292-5766

Call or Text for Help 614-221-5445

Teen Suicide Hotline 614-294-3300

LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Hotline @ The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

The Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition 614-299-6600 ext. 2073

Go immediately to any emergency room or police station

For adults, they can call or walk into Netcare Access for help

Kaleidoscope Youth Center Named a Safe Place

Kaleidoscope Youth Center is now a designated Safe Place in the central Ohio community. The building will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth.

It is estimated over one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn. Columbus’ Safe Place initiative, operated by Huckleberry House, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

“By making KYC a Safe Place, it provides a safe alternative for runaway or homeless youth in their community,” states Becky Westerfelt, Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center Executive Director Erin Upchurch states, “This is an important next step for KYC in our continued expansion to meet the needs of our young people. Our youth need to know that there is a community that is here for them with resources and care. We’re very excited to grow our partnership with Huckleberry House in this way.”

Huckleberry House is central Ohio’s Safe Place® agency and has 135 partner sites, including all 23 locations in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system. In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About Huckleberry House

Started in 1970 as a shelter for runaway teens, Huckleberry House serves young people and families in crisis. The organization’s four core programs include a 24-hour shelter for teens, an 18-month transitional living program for young adults who have experienced homelessness and are preparing to live independently in permanent housing, a youth outreach team that connects young people with resources and a family support counseling program with an expertise in adolescent cognitive behavior practices. To learn more visit: www.huckhouse.org.

 

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

 

About Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Established in 1994, Kaleidoscope Youth Center is the largest and longest standing organization serving LGBTQIA+ young people, ages 12-24, in the state of Ohio. Kaleidoscope works in partnership with youth to create safer and affirming spaces for young people through their drop-in center, community education and outreach, advocacy and civic engagement, and in health and wellness, and housing opportunities. To learn more, please visit: www.kycohio.org.

Professional Development Program

By Leslie Scott, MSSA, LSW, CTP-C
Professional Development Coordinator

 

 

For the past 50 years, Huckleberry House has prided itself on being an expert in adolescent and young adult care. Our driving force is our commitment to our clients. This year, we expanded our commitment to our clients by starting a new adventure — a Professional Development Program. Our commitment to our clients doesn’t begins within our doors, but within our community; we work to improve services offered to teens and young adults.  Huckleberry House Professional Development Program aims to teach professionals across Ohio skills to make them experts in teen and young adult care. Our promise to you is simple, we only teach what we know works.

“The training is informative and applicable to a wide variety of needs. I found the skills easy to apply to everyday work with teens and young adults.” – Erica Schnitz, MSW, LISW

What to Expect

When you attend a training with Huckleberry House, you gain evidenced-based and youth-informed skills. Every scenario, practice case study, and skill provided are specific to teen and young adult challenges. Huckleberry House offers three curriculum: (1) Working with Young Adults: How Housing Instability Influences Their Outcomes, (2) Trauma Informed Care: Changing the Way We Think, and (3) Documentation 101: What, Why, and How to Document.  Social workers can earn 2 CEUs for each training attended.

“Simple enough to understand, informative enough for me to know everything about documentation” – Grace Brown, MSW, LSW

“Very knowledgeable and informative” – Housing Professional Participant

What’s Next

Join us on July 22, 2019 for our “Working with Young Adults: Skill Based Training”. In two sessions, earn 4 CEUs for Social Workers and over 30 different skills for working with teens and young adults.

Training One: 9 am – 11 am

Working with Young Adults: Impact from Trauma, Housing Instability, & Survival Behaviors 

This training educates participants on key skills and intervention techniques to use when working with young adults. The course focuses on the impact of trauma and homelessness on human brain development, as well as building effective intervention skills to use with this population. Intervention skills are designed for case managers, therapists, and front-line staff. Participants will engage in empathy and awareness building activities to explore how housing insecurity, underdeveloped communication skills, and survival behaviors impact an individual’s ability to thrive. Participants are given 30 different communication, rapport building, and engagement focused skills. All focusing on young adult clients.

Training Two: 12 pm – 2 pm

Trauma Informed Care: Changing the Way We Think

This training provides education on evidenced based trauma informed care models, effects of trauma, and how to identify trauma histories in adolescents and young adult clients. Participants will practice various interventions to use with clients, learn how to identify if a client is within their window of tolerance, how to recognize trauma related symptoms, and how to engage with clients when they are experiencing a crisis or traumatic response. Participants will also gain education on signs of secondary trauma, stressors that contribute to secondary trauma, and how to reduce or prevent secondary trauma.

 

Registration is easy – just go to our EventBrite page and enter your information! 

Can’t make this training, but want to attend a future training? Email “Sign me up” to profdev@huck-house.org and be the first to register for training events.

City of Upper Arlington Fire Division Named a Safe Place

City of Upper Arlington Fire Division is now a designated a Safe Place in the central Ohio community. The buildings will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth.

It is estimated over one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn. Columbus’ Safe Place initiative, operated by Huckleberry House, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

“By making their fire stations a Safe Place, the city of Upper Arlington provides a safe alternative for runaway or homeless youth in their community,” states Becky Westerfelt, Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Upper Arlington Assistant Fire Chief Christopher Zimmer states, “We are excited to collaborate with Huckleberry House. Our personnel strive daily to provide exceptional service to the community and keep residents safe.  Working with Huckleberry House is another example as to how we serve those in need.”

Huckleberry House is central Ohio’s Safe Place® agency and has 84 partner sites, including all 23 locations in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system. In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About Huckleberry House

Started in 1970 as a shelter for runaway teens, Huckleberry House serves young people and families in crisis. The organization’s four core programs include a 24-hour shelter for teens, an 18-month transitional living program for young adults who have experienced homelessness and are preparing to live independently in permanent housing, a youth outreach team that connects young people with resources and a family support counseling program with an expertise in adolescent cognitive behavior practices. To learn more visit: www.huckhouse.org.

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

About the Upper Arlington Fire Division

The Upper Arlington Fire Division was established in 1930 and consisted of one fire engine, an assistant fire chief, a lieutenant and two firefighters.

Today, the Fire Division operates from two fire stations and the city is served by one engine/rescue unit, one ladder truck and three medic units.  The UAFD responds to more than 4,500 calls per year.  The UAFD provides fire prevention and suppression, emergency medical, technical rescue, and hazardous materials mitigation services. The UAFD has 55 firefighters and paramedics that work across three different shift consisting of 24-hours on-duty and then 48 hours off. The administrative team includes the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, the Fire Prevention Office, EMS/Training Office, a CARES manager and support staff.

The Fire Division offers a variety of health and safety programs to the community which includes CPR, Fire Prevention, the CARES program (Community Assistance, Referrals and Education), child car seat installation, station and truck tours, and public speaking engagements. For more information go to upperarlington.gov/fire-division

Violet Township Fire Departments Named a Safe Place

Violet Township Fire Department stations are each now a designated Safe Place in the central Ohio community. The buildings will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth.

It is estimated over one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn. Columbus’ Safe Place initiative, operated by Huckleberry House, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

“By making their fire stations a Safe Place, Violet Township provides a safe alternative for runaway or homeless youth in their community,” states Becky Westerfelt, Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Violet Township Fire Chief Mike Little states, “The collaboration with Huckleberry House makes sense.  Our personnel have a duty to keep people safe and serve our community.  This is just another way we are able to meet that community expectation.”

Huckleberry House is central Ohio’s Safe Place® agency and has 82 partner sites, including all 23 locations in the Columbus Metropolitan Library system. In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.

 

About Huckleberry House

Started in 1970 as a shelter for runaway teens, Huckleberry House serves young people and families in crisis. The organization’s four core programs include a 24-hour shelter for teens, an 18-month transitional living program for young adults who have experienced homelessness and are preparing to live independently in permanent housing, a youth outreach team that connects young people with resources and a family support counseling program with an expertise in adolescent cognitive behavior practices. To learn more visit: www.huckhouse.org.

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org.

About Violet Township Fire Department

The department was established in 1934 as the Pickerington Volunteer Fire Department and served the village of Pickerington.  In 1953, a bond issue was passed to allow the department to serve the whole township and change the name to Violet Township Fire Department.  Today, the department responds to more than 6,000 calls per year.  We operate from 3 stations strategically placed throughout the township.  For more information go to www.violet.oh.us.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital – On Our Sleeves

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

One in five children in the United States has a mental health condition. That’s one in five children in a homeroom class, on a baseball team or on the street where you live. That child, in fact, may be your own.

But there’s HOPE.

Helping our children’s mental health is something EVERYONE can do — not just parents and caregivers.

It’s time to have a national conversation about children’s mental health. It’s time to raise our voices for this important cause.

On Our Sleeves is proud to join the mental health community for Mental Health Month this May.

Children’s Mental Health Week

Mental health issues start younger, and their impact is broader, than most people realize. And because kids don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves, we don’t know what they might be going through.

More than 10 percent of children 8 to 11 years old have experienced a mental illness. The percentage doubles for teenagers. Half of all lifetime mental illness, starts by age 14. That number increases to 75% by age 24.

From May 5 to May 10, the mental health community shines the light on children’s mental health. Join Nationwide Children’s Hospital in raising your voice for kids everywhere.

May 9: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

 

May 9 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This day highlights the importance of caring for a child’s mental health and its importance in a child’s development.

Mental wellness and coping skills learned during childhood establish the foundation for future social, emotional and academic success. That’s why it’s important to recognize when a child is struggling and get them help as early as possible. All of us can help in improving mental health for children.

Tune in on May 9 for an incredible success and advocacy story.

 

This blog article is from Nationwide Children’s and their #OnOurSleeves Campaign.

Janet Soltis Jefferson Award 2019 Finalist

One afternoon per month, you will find Janet Soltis in the Huckleberry House crisis shelter’s kitchen, baking with teenagers. The teenagers are there because they are experiencing some sort of crisis – neglect, abuse, homelessness, stress at home. Janet is there because she believes that “what the youth really need is to know that someone cares and that they are valued.”

Janet knows food and cooking are icebreakers for anyone, especially teenagers. Baking cookies or making Rice Crispy Treats gives the young people something to focus on, an activity in which to participate. Conversation usually starts with “my mom does it this way,” or “I remember my grandma used to crack eggs with one hand.” Very quickly, the teens open up. Janet’s open and caring personality is just laid back enough to make conversation safe.

Janet is still known to her former students, a few of whom work at Huckleberry House, as Ms. Soltis the middle school English teacher. When she comes to Huck House to bake with the teens, she brings sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate chips, and years of wisdom and expertise talking to teenagers. Her calming presence is something lacking in the lives of many Huck House youth.

At her core, Janet cares about the future of the young people in Columbus. Ten years ago, she started a scholarship fund to support young women in Huckleberry House programs. Since then, seventeen young women have received Homer-Soltis Scholarships. Most recipients are clients in our Transitional Living Program who are working hard to learn all the skills they will need to live independently after graduating from the Huck House program. Education is a big part of future success, and Janet wanted to be sure cost was not an obstacle for any young woman who wants to be in school.

Janet also loves dogs and is currently training her second therapy dog Sam. Eventually, he and Janet will visit nursing homes and other places that welcome therapy dogs. We are anxious for Sam to finish his training so he can come with Janet to Huck House.

Huckleberry House nominated Janet Soltis because she sets an example of valuing all young people. Janet was chosen as one of 20 WBNS-10TV and Lifeline of Ohio 2019 Jefferson Awards Finalists out of the 152 nominated. This is a distinguished honor and one which carries with it the distinction of the highest ideals and achievements of public service in this country. Read more about the Jefferson Awards and 2019 winners here.

Give Yoga Gives Back to Huck House

GIVE Yoga exists to build community around yoga for the good of the individual and the good of the world. GIVE Yoga is committed to Giving Yoga, Improving Strong Communities, and Developing Leaders. To fulfill this commitment, Huck House has been chosen as a partner nonprofit to which they will provide yoga to our transitional living program clients.

We envision that a practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness will give our clients a new healthy coping skill. A lot of our clients suffer from sleep issues and unhealthy habits. We hope that the new program will support healing. Additionally, we hope to see some of our clients feeling inspired by the physical health benefits of yoga as an exercise, and feel more driven to continue to invest in their own physical well-being. 

 

Give Yoga funding will ensure up to 12 classes taught by Cecilia Shanahan, a Registered Yoga Teacher and Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher. She will focus her practice on our young women in our transitional living program who are victims of domestic violence as well as our young expecting mothers.

 

Bexley and Wellington SLEEP OUT!

April is the month to SLEEP OUT! Beyond the 2nd annual Sleep Out! taking place on Friday, April 12th at COSI, Huckleberry House’s proven programs will benefit from sleepers at Bexley High School and The Wellington School. Read below to learn more about these two upcoming events helping to end youth homelessness in our community.

Bexley High School Sleep Out!

Q&A with Anna Schottenstein, Bexley Teacher

  • Why are you hosting a Sleep Out at Bexley High School?
    • We are hosting the Sleep Out at Bexley High School because it is important for students to be empowered to make a change in their community, become educated about local issues and teach others, and become more active in the community without just giving money. This provides students with experiences they will not have in a classroom but are essential life lessons.
  • What will the event look like at Bexley?
    • Throughout the night about 150-200 students will attend the sleep out. We will have music, movies, s’mores, a cookout, games, activities and various ways to raise money for the Huck House. We will also do a collection drive to get high need items. While students will be having a lot of fun at the event, we also spend a significant amount of time reflecting on how fortunate we are to only sleep outside for one night and have nice homes and loving families to return home to every other night.
  • What is your goal for the event?
    • Our goal for the event is to raise awareness for homelessness in central Ohio, while also having a great experience. Students plan and organize all aspects of the event preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow. We also hope to raise $5,000 for the Huck House.

The Wellington School Sleep Out!

Q&A with Max Thesing & Katz Kadlic, Seniors at Wellington

  • Why are you hosting a Sleep Out at Wellington?
    • We are hosting a Sleep Out at Wellington to raise awareness for youth homelessness in central Ohio. We both attended the first annual Sleep Out! last year and were inspired to host our very own.  It was an incredibly uncomfortable experience and no one should have to go through being homeless.  We believe hosting the Wellington Sleep Out is a great way for the our community to experience being homeless to an extent.
  • What will the event look like at Wellington?
    • The Wellington Sleep Out will be similar to the Huckleberry House Sleep Out. At Wellington, we will be sleeping outside to create an uncomfortable environment.  The two of us will give an informational meeting inside of the school before going outside.  There will be various activities to do such as watch movies regarding homelessness, play board games, etc.  The next morning, we will be providing people with breakfast food and packing up the event.

  • How are you raising awareness for the event?
    • We are making announcements, hosting a guest speaker, creating a website, and selling t-shirts.  The two of us have made many announcements to the high school during morning meeting for those who are interested in attending the Sleep Out. We also hosted guest speaker Kyra Crockett-Hodge.  Kyra is the head of the youth outreach program at Huckleberry House.  She spoke about what she does at Huckleberry House and her experience at last year’s Huckleberry House Sleep Out.  We created a website with general information about the Wellington Sleep Out. We are accepting donations to Huckleberry House on our website and selling t-shirts.

 

  • What will you do with all the funds raised?
    • We will be donating all of our proceeds to the Huckleberry House so they can continue to do the incredible work they’re already doing in the central Ohio community.