Teen suicide is the 2nd cause of death to American youth today. I know this subject is dark and cringy and most leaders avoid it if they can. As adults working with youth, we need to recognize the symptoms and know what to do about it. Your active role in safeguarding our Scouts is part of your responsibilities.
RED-LIGHT Statements & Behavior include:
🛑 Threatening their own well-being or others through physical violence; Statements like “Shoot myself…” or “…jump off a cliff…” and “…kill you all before myself.”
🛑 Planning to run away from home or saying they won’t need things soon.
🛑 Damaging or throwing away their own property for no reason.
🛑 Give away personal belongings or final goodbyes.
🛑 Reference suicide or suicidal thoughts on social media.
🛑 Increase their use of drugs, alcohol or hurting themselves.
🛑 Sudden change in health or sleep habits (too little or too much).
🛑 Display extreme mood swings or is having trouble focusing.
🛑 Saying they wish they hadn’t been born at all.
I know of leaders who have expressed remorse of not acting on a “gut feeling”. The adult leader should have an indication of where issues are with their scouts. The Scoutmaster conference is not just for rank advancement. Den leaders can also have meetings with the cub scout and parents. Everything within YPT should always be observed. If you notice red-light behavior call a meeting ASAP. This meeting should determine whether red light behavior was a real concern. If any red-light behavior is observed the leader should immediately notify the parents. Parents should seek immediate mental health evaluation for their scout. If one of your scouts suddenly caught on fire, you would immediately get them help. This is no different. This aspect is instinctive too good leadership like yours. The tragic loss of America’s youth is incredibly sad. We must do what we can to stop this plague.
⚠ Adult Leaders: Please enter the following in your mobile for referencing with parents. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (English) and 1-888-628-9454 (Español). The new national Lifeline 988 number is NOT CURRENTLY ACTIVE.
🌎 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
🌎 AAFP Teen Suicide Prevention: https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/public-health/teen-suicide.html
Scout leaders are notorious for volunteering and over-committing. We like to say and hear the word YES! Leaders often get burnout when they over-commit to anything. ScouterStan explains how to help prevent burnout by keeping the “Rule of Five” in balance.
The Rule of Five 🖐
(1) Family – That’s your family and friends you would consider family. (2) Faith – Putting God in your life will help give it purpose and meaning. (3) Career – Using your skills to pay the bills. (4) Self – Taking time for your self, downtime is important. (5) Others – Helping others become better people and doing good turns for them.
It’s natural for each person to rearrange their own Rule of Five. However, the list is the same and no one of the five is more important than any other. The perception of burnout happens quickly when there is an imbalance of one or more of these. Balancing these five priorities and helping others balance their commitments, makes everyone happier people. Always remember you can say NO (politely) and still help find someone who is able to say yes. Just think about the Rule of Five before committing yourself or others to anything.
Today we recognize all of Americas who willingly sacrificed their lives, to save others. Firemen & First Responders, who bravely climbed up to save lives in doomed burning buildings. Police & Security, who gave themselves willing to evacuate survivors. Passengers on United Airlines flight 93 who fought the terrorists when they found out what was going on.
All of the selfless acts of theses honored Americas can never go without remembrance on this day. We all know that among them were many Scouters. The Scout Motto – “Be Prepared”. In Scouting we prepare our youth to do things we hope, they never need to do. We teach young scouts First Aid. Recognizing victims and what to do about it. We teach Youth Protection to Scouts and Scouters. Safety for ourselves and others. We teach about Emergency Preparedness. Disasters, fires, even water safety.
In the Scout Oath, we promise to use our scout skills “to help other people at all times”. In the Scout Law, we uphold that a scout is Helpful, Friendly and Brave. Pray today for the heroic Americans and their families. Please include our future Americans (our scouts) who are taking on tomorrow’s challenges. Let us pray that they may never need to use the skills we teach them. Let them be prepared to help other people at all times. God bless America.