Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
As a parent, I’m aware of the many stresses that must be dealt with regarding teens.
I believe a parent must stay involved with their children in order to stay on top of what is going on in their lives.
Even if that means being annoying or being told you are the meanest parent in the world.
You need to communicate with your child, know where your child is going and you need to know their friends.
One of the best ways to know their friends is to open your home to those friends. Even so, there will be times when you still don’t know everything going on.
As a parent, I was never told of the curriculum that is introduced in health class.
I didn’t ask.
As far as sex education, I’m all for a parent teaching that at home, but don’t have a problem with it being taught at school.
I never checked into what is mandated by the Department of Public Instruction to be taught to students regarding health or mental health.
With the unfortunate issue of teen suicide brought to my attention this past month, I happened to be checking the WI DPI web site, and found some information that really threw me for a loop.
I discovered the statistics of suicide and alcohol use for teens in Wisconsin.
If you are not aware of these statistics, and have teens, you will be shocked.
If you are like me, you will wonder why you have not been informed by school officials of these statistics and surrounding facts.
These facts could help save a child’s life.
These facts are mainly given to school administrators and professionals.
I believe they should be given, at a minimum, to all parents.
But why not publish them in a yearly newsletter to all citizens?
The shocking facts ….
Wisconsin was ranked 8th in the nation for teen suicides in 2006.
NUMBER EIGHT þ
Wisconsin fluctuates between 8th and 14th from recent data.
Wisconsin ranks 1st in the nation for alcohol use among teens.
NUMBER ONE þ
Teen suicide mainly stems from depression.
Alcohol use goes very much hand-in-hand with depression. I recently spoke with a friend, a psychologist who works with teens, and he told me that when a teen mentions the word suicide, s/he in almost all instances is truly contemplating the act.
That teen needs help in all cases.
A depressed teen may not be talking to you, the parent.
A depressed teen may not have any friends to talk to, period.
Following are two DPI documents that are given to school professionals:
Here are some questions for you, the parent.
Do you think, if you have a teen in a public school, and you have never been made aware of these facts regarding teen suicide, that it is the responsibility of the district to inform you of these facts?
Is your district training their school professionals to the state mandates regarding suicide prevention?
And, are students being instructed, in health classes, about suicide, with up-to-date information?
I would also ask my school-aged child exactly what they have been taught about suicide and alcohol abuse in health class, and when, and who instructed them.
This needs to be an open discussion, at home and at school with your teen.
On the slide presentation in the link below, it is a lesson to see the photo and read of a 28-year old Golden Gate bridge jumper who survived his suicide attempt:
Baldwin recalls, "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I'd thought was unfixable was totally fixable-except for having just jumped."
Youth Suicide Prevention Ã
What a gut wrenching reality for every parent.
For every adult.
Isn’t there a teen, or a young adult out there that we, as adults, can reach out to?
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Toll free hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
• www.focusas.com/Suicide.html Ã
How to answer teen questions about suicide, statistics, what to say and what not to say.• www.aap.org/advocacy/childhealthmonth/prevteensuicide.htm Ã
American Academy of Pediatrics: Some Things You Should Know About Preventing Teen Suicide. • www.yspp.org/aboutSuicide/suicideFAQ.htm Ã
Frequently asked questions about youth suicide.• www.teensuicide.us Ã
Information on teen suicide prevention.
• www.save.org Ã
Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education (SAVE).