Suicide

Suicide Prevention and Support in the Jewish Community

JCFS Chicago, No Shame On U, and MISSD (Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation) have received a JUF Breakthrough Fund grant to launch a critical initiative: Suicide Prevention and Support in the Chicago Jewish Community. The overall goal of this initiative is to initiate dialogue that enhances understanding of suicide, reduces the stigma surrounding it, and ensures appropriate and compassionate responses.

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Response Responds to "13 Reasons Why"

By Robin Stein, LCSW
Director, Response

True confession… I binge-watched the entire Netflix series titled “13 Reasons Why!” My initial reaction was that it was a show that covered truisms that many adolescents face in today’s world (bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment, isolation, drunk driving, parent-teen communication issues). The characters were well developed and, while often graphic and painful to watch, I thought it did a good job of addressing some pretty dicey subject matter. But after processing the series more with colleagues, I began to have concerns about some of the missed opportunities to more transparently shed light on the theme of mental illness; something that impacts one in five teens in our society today. While we occasionally see Hannah and Clay (two of the main characters), sitting alone in the lunchroom or apparently feeling invisible in classroom scenes, the only references to mental illness are within Clay’s family scenes, when mom identifies that perhaps he might want to return to therapy or re-start some medication; she’s concerned about him.

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Raising Mental Health Awareness

Fifteen year-old Anna lounged on the sofa in Robin Stein’s office, sinking into the cushions with her legs folded beneath her. Though her features remained stoic, the cell phone she cradled shook in the palms of her hand as she rapidly swiped at its surface with her thumbs. “Here,” Anna said, and held the phone out to Stein, a licensed clinical social worker at JCFS Chicago. The screen displayed a somewhat pixelated selfie of a very young girl with a gun pointed at her temple. “She talked about dying all the time.” Anna was in grief therapy with Stein; the girl holding the gun was Anna’s younger sister, Sarah, who had taken her life the year before, ultimately overdosing on a relative’s sleeping pills. Sarah was only 10.

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Helping Teenagers Cope With Grief After Tragedy and Loss

by Robin Stein, Director, Response for Teens at JCFS Chicago

As a therapist who has worked with teens almost exclusively for over 30 years, I can’t help but imagine what it must be like to be a teenager in 2015. With so many young lives cut short today due to violence, bullying and suicide—dealing with the fear, the sense of loss, the uncertainty.  Grief work with adolescents is so incredibly important.  Often, parents immediately react by telling their child they must be in counseling – they just know their child must be depressed and at risk of imploding. 

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