Suicide. How to become a first responder, with Cristie North
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Anthony Taylor Hagen, of Holladay, Utah, made his departure early on the morning of Friday, January 6, 2017. He was 23 years old. "Losing Taylor to suicide has completely changed our family and shaken us to the core. Our loss has led us to come together and create awareness in as many ways as possible." Crisitie North Taylors mother joins us today sharing her insights and wisdom along with the beautiful foundation that she and her family have built in Taylor's honor.
Utah ranks 5th in the nation for teen suicide, and those numbers are growing. Our kids are dealing with more advanced issues than ever before.
"Michael Staley, a 33-year-old sociologist, hired last year by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, expects to spend years trying to answer complex questions: Exactly how at risk are LGBTQ Utahns? What roles do religion and technology play? And why does Utah, like other Intermountain West states, have such a high suicide rate?" This research along with new insights and training need to become a fluent language in every household.
Warning signs, listed by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, include threats, verbal or written, to hurt themselves, increased substance abuse, feelings of being trapped or hopeless, withdrawing from loved ones, unusual recklessness and dramatic mood changes.
High school can bring Isolation with friends. Emotional ups and downs. Hormones kick in, and social groups form. We need to educate ourselves and our children about the downsides to social media, and good practices when using apps. Graduation from high school brings another set of stressors for our kids because now they have to perform in life, and the pressures can feel overwhelming.
If your kids come home drunk or high, there could be a deeper issue brewing. Self-medicating could be the beginning signs of depression.
Cristie shares with us how we need to learn how to listen to our loved ones without trying to fix them or the problem. We need to hold space for more meaningful conversations that set judgment and criticism aside. It's easy to remind our kids how blessed they are to have a beautiful house and cars, clothes and money. What we forget is depression, and anxiety doesn't discriminate between the wealthy and the poor. It isn't concerned about our status.
Perspective allows us to see with new eyes, its the razor's edge between deeper connections with our loved ones vs. holding them hostage to our beliefs and ideas. Cristie teaches us what it means to be a first responder with our loved ones. The first question we should be asking is, are you ok? How are you feeling, what's going on? When we freak out, we send the message that we cannot handle the truth of the pain our loved ones may be feeling. They lose trust in our reactions. We need to respond rather than react. If our loved ones are going to show us who they are, we have to set aside our fears and expectations. We have to be willing to accept that they may be breaking the mold and showing us something we have never seen before. With a willingness to show up for that, we build trust and connection.
We are so honored to have Cristie share with us her journey through child loss, and her education and foundation. She has taken her grief and spun it into a resource of outreach that will no doubt help us all be better listeners and communicators with our loved ones. If you are a mother whose child has committed suicide, please visit Taylor Hagen memorial foundation for information on the bereaved mother's retreats. We are including links to all of the community building resources and suicide prevention and education provided by Cristie and her family.
"Lookin' at my flaws Make you wanna pause But you still in awe Yeah, you still in awe. No I'm not a God But I'm tryin' hard Yeah, I'm tryin' hard."
-Lyrics By Taylor Hagen
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