"Each year we bring our fifth graders to experience the Adventure Learning Center's alpine tower, giant swing, and team building exercises. They always come back energized, proud, and united! I believe it is one of the best field trips for kids! The staff is always positive, encouraging and totally dedicated to the kids. "

— 5th Grade Counselor, New Hanover County Schools

Author Archives: Meredith Ross

Red Ribbon Week- Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free



The 2017 National Red Ribbon Week theme: Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free™.

Winner Iris Yu with teacher Cheryl Holsapfel and mom Wei Yu
The theme was created by Iris Yu, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

The school will receive national recognition and $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc. In addition to the attention she is receiving from her school community, Iris is receiving a great deal of support from her family.

“Our whole family is very excited and proud of Iris, especially her little brother,” said Wei Yu, Iris’ mom. “This topic is important to me as it’s important to everyone. Aside from all the social problems caused by drug abuse, as a parent, it’s just heartbreaking to see kids being victimized by drugs [when] they could have a bright future.”

Iris, who entered along with hundreds of classmates thanks to the dedication of her media arts teacher Cheryl Holsapfel, didn’t think she was going to win but had a good time trying.

“I [had] fun trying to think of various slogans,” said Iris. “I think that drug prevention is important because [drug use] has been popularized by pop culture and the media. I came up with the theme by first considering what doing drugs would affect, and the obvious answer to me was your future. The rest of the words kind of just fell into place afterwards.”

Holsapfel participates each year in the contest as a way to talk with her students about drugs. All of her students enter the contest and have done so for the past few years. Holsapfel’s intended message clearly got through to Iris.

“Drugs not only affect your brain, but your future as well,” said Iris. “You don’t get a second future. It’s why you do a lot of the things you do…in hopes of having a good future.”

To Iris’ mom, her daughter’s message for her peers across America is clear.

“There are so many beautiful places you could go. There are unlimited possibilities for you to explore. So don’t let drugs ruin it.”

Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 Red Ribbon Planning Guide and other wonderful materials available at www.redribbon.org/downloads.

Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business

Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
Every day and Everyone has a role to play in Suicide Prevention
Signs and Symptoms…

 Often there may be signs that someone is at risk for suicide.
 The risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
 It’s okay to ask. It’s okay to get help. Most who attempt suicide do not want to die.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)* Press 1 for Veterans or military members, or chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
• Talking about being a burden to others.
• Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
• Giving away their possessions.
• Sleeping too little or too much.
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
• Displaying extreme mood swings.
• Talking about being very tired; extremely fatigued with life or life events.
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)* Press 1 for Veterans or military members, you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed with trained professionals and can help with a wide range of issues including substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, trauma from abuse, bullying, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.
For more information or Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


North Carolina Suicide Prevention Resources

1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) North Carolina Chapter
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) established a new chapter in North Carolina in May 2014. The Chapter raises awareness about suicide and its prevention through community events, Out of the Darkness walks, AFSP programs, and gatekeeper trainings. The Chapter plans to expand training opportunities around the state, make more resources available to people whose lives have been affected by suicide, bring AFSP’s Interactive Screening Program (ISP) to North Carolina campuses and communities, and collaborate with other organizations in continuing to build a grassroots advocacy network that promotes legislation and policies to prevent suicide and improve mental health.
For support groups in your area for those touched by suicide loss https://afsp.org/find-support/

2. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS)
The Division provides strategic and operational leadership and oversight to the public mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse service system. The Community Policy Management Section is primarily responsible for leadership, guidance and management of relationships with local management entities (LME/MCOs). LME/MCOs are where people go to find information on receiving mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse services. They are available 24 hours a day. LME/MCO by county: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/lmeonblue.htm. The Division also operates the Crisis Solutions Coalition, which works statewide to decrease the use of emergency departments and increase access to other services to help individuals resolve the crisis and get back to their homes, families, friends, and work. Learn more at http://crisissolutionsnc.org/.

3. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in North Carolina 1-800-273-8255


Provides access to 24/7/365 crisis response services, such as screening, triage and referral; walk-in crisis; mobile crisis management teams; or facility based crisis services through the DMHDDSAS Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs).

4. North Carolina Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB)
http://www.injuryfreenc.ncdhhs.gov/ For fact sheets and reports this link to read burden of suicide in North Carolina.
“It’s OK 2 Ask” website and provides suicide prevention trainings to communities. The Injury and Violence Branch also provides data and surveillance for suicide.

5. Students Against Destructive Decisions – North Carolina State Chapter
N.C. SADD has over 300 SADD chapters across the state. The chapters carry out projects during the school year such as seat belt checks of students driving to school, compliance checks of sales to minors, prevention activities at sports events, alcohol-free prom and graduation projects, school assemblies and community projects focusing on highway safety and underage drinking and drug prevention

6. North Carolina SAYSO (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out)
Strong Able Youth Speaking Out is a statewide association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are or have been in the out-of-home care system that is based in North Carolina.

7. North Carolina Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience)

Youth M.O.V.E

Youth M.O.V.E is a nationally recognized, youth-led (ages 16-26) and driven organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development. The organization unites the voices of individuals who have had experiences in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare.

8. Crisis Text Line – Text GO to 741-741 https://www.crisistextline.org/

For more information: Susan E. Robinson, M.Ed. NC DHHS/DMHDDSAS [email protected] 919-715-2262

National Suicide Prevention Week- September 10-16, 2017

Suicide Prevention Week for 2017 is set for September 10th through 16th. North Carolina ranks 35th in the nation in its rate of suicide deaths. New Hanover County, NC ranks 37th in the state in its rate of suicide deaths. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with one suicide occurring on average every 11.9 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds. The elderly make-up 14.5% of the population, but comprise 16.6% of all suicides. Approximately 1,104,825 Americans attempt suicide each year. It is estimated that 5.1 million living Americans have attempted to kill themselves. Every year in the United States, more than 22,018 men and women kill themselves with a gun; two-thirds more than the number who use a gun to kill another person. An estimated 6.5 million Americans are survivors of suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

American Association of Suidcidology- www.suicidology.org
North Carolina Substance Use Prevention Planning Outcomes, Risks, and Trends