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safeTALK, safe teen: A teenager's story of suicide intervention

LivingWorks

Apr 10, 2020

You take the training. Cross it off your list. You’ll never need to use it, right? That’s what a mother and daughter in Louisiana thought after taking LivingWorks safeTALK training together.

“You go to the training, you get the training, but in the back of your head you’re like, we’ll probably never have to use this, but it’s good to have. Our thinking now is so different because of what has happened. You can never say what you will never use, because we’re living proof that it can happen, it can happen to any one of us,” explains the mother from southern Louisiana.

Two weeks after training the mother noticed her daughter busily texting, but then, what teenager isn’t?

“I didn’t know initially what was going on until I kind of looked over at her and I asked her what was wrong. It was plain as day on her face that something was wrong,” the mother recalls.

The daughter then confided in her mother that she was receiving text messages from a high school friend. He texted he was going to end his life.


When he wouldn’t answer his phone, the daughter’s LivingWorks safeTALK training kicked into gear and she began texting him the questions: why do you want to end your life, what’s going on, can we talk? She was reticent, however, to let her mother know who the young man was or where he lived.

“We really had to talk with her about giving up information on him because she was afraid she was going to betray her friend and his confidence,” said the mother. However, by reminding her daughter about the summer loss of another friend at high school, the mother was able to convince her.

“What I told her was, how would you feel if you wake up in the morning and he is no longer here?”

The mother was in contact with their LivingWorks safeTALK instructors the whole time and together they contacted law enforcement who went to the boy’s home to intervene. His father had no idea what was happening. Although it was an extremely difficult situation, the daughter knows she made the right decision.

The mother notes, “Because he told her that he never thought anybody could love him enough to save him. So every day they see each other at school. You know she still checks on him and he’s getting help, getting treated, and he is doing so much better.”

Performing an intervention takes its toll on the interventionists.

“It’s like every time she talks about it, she cries. It’s still very emotional for her, very hard for her to deal with. I mean she’s happy with herself, but I think she’s still living in the moment that she actually saved somebody’s life. It’s still very fresh with me too. If I see her crying, I start crying.”

The mother and the daughter met with their LivingWorks trainers after the intervention to touch base and make sure they were okay. The mother now has plans to take LivingWorks ASIST, and both mother and daughter keep their LivingWorks safeTALK cards in their purses and are extremely thankful they took the training when they did.

“It’s needed. We definitely need it because we never know when we’re going to be confronted by something like this.”

Keep in mind: After providing suicide intervention, you may require support to sort through feelings or concerns that might be related to that helping experience. Sometimes helping others reminds us of our own experiences and our own needs for care and support. Always reach out for help when you need it—consider your own self-care and wellness. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for 24-hour service. For outside of the US, check our site for local lifelines.