Kotzebue, Alaska is 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Alaska's western coast. With a population of just over 3000 people, the community has been rocked by 18 suicides in 18 months. Last month, mental health speaker and author Jeff Yalden was hired as a consultant and to shake things up. Here’s what happened…
Mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author lays out principles from his new book, Teen Suicide: The “Why” Behind America’s Suicide Epidemic. Part one in a series.
Watch a real life situation where a student comes to speak to teen mental health professional Jeff Yalden and it quickly turns into a person asking for help without realizing it. Jeff engages in conversation to listen, build a relationship, and earn the trust of the student. Red flags are shown during conversation and before you know it, Jeff is asking the suicide questions. This young lady is in care getting the help she needs and Jeff saves another teen.
Teen Suicide: A Parent’s Responsibility
Could it have been that the parent’s were called and notified about the well-being of their daughter, but they weren’t receptive or present to receiving the phone call? Perhaps, sometimes we don’t hear what we need to hear because we don’t know what to do or aren’t capable of what to do. Maybe, we think our child is going through a phase and that shortly our child will snap out of the funk. Then, it happens and the finality of teen suicide hits, yet, we can’t go back.
Morgan County, Ohio is a small rural community in southeast Ohio who has been impacted by loss. The whole community is struggling. A couple of years ago, a car accident took the lives of two students. This has impacted the community greatly.
During the winter months of 2018, a young boy in grade 11 made a forever decision to end his life. This wasn't easy on a community already hurting and looking for meaning and understanding. Teachers, staff, parents, and community devastated. The classmates and students crushed. Then, a couple months later, another grade 11 young lady made a forever decision herself.
They school community invites Teen Mental Health and Teen Suicide Prevention expert, Jeff Yalden to the school to speak to teens, teachers, parents and community.
Yalden was invited by the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office to speak to high school and middle school students about life choices, mental health, behavior, and attitude. He also presented to more than 100 parents and community members that night.
Investigator April Edwards from the Sheriff’s Office organized Yalden’s visit. It’s fitting that after some due diligence about Yalden himself, she knew that he would be the ideal candidate to instill a sense of purpose, hope and direction to kids who might otherwise be tempted to go down the rabbit hole of risky behaviors and compromise their self-respect.
“Jeff Yalden came and took our schools by storm,” said Edwards. “He captured the attention of our students as well as the attention of faculty, administration, law enforcement, parents and many other vested adults from our community.”
She added that the kids developed trust in Yalden within two hours and then poured their hearts out to him.
“Jeff has a gift, and he has helped many of our children through a very difficult time in their young lives,” she said. “Many of these kids will never forget the day that a motivational speaker captured their attention, their hearts and their minds.”
Yalden was grateful to Edwards for going to bat for him.
“Thank you for organizing and fighting to make it happen. We made a difference today,” he said.
In his more than 25 years working with young people and school communities, he said he has met many awesome teachers, administrators, coaches and counselors, but he cited then-interim and now permanent Mathews High School principal Alexis Foster as one of a kind.
“Today’s teens are growing up differently and need trusted adult who can find the perfect balance of understanding, discipline and encouragement, while providing inspiration and hope – an individual who shows beyond any doubt that they truly care about the students that walk through their doors,” Yalden said.
“Mr. Foster is the embodiment of empathy and compassion, yet he held the kids accountable in a way that they felt empowered and hopeful – that their needs were being met and that they had solid futures to look forward to.”
Foster himself was more than pleased with the result of Edwards’ work to bring Yalden in for the day.
“As a school administrator, it’s very difficult to always find the time to say the right things or to do things to motivate your kids – but if you have the time and really care about kids, you need to invite Jeff Yalden to your school,” he said. “Just spending the day with him today, I saw lives changed, kids’ attitudes changed – and parents are now thinking about things that maybe they never thought about before.”
What Yalden most wanted to instill in the young people in attendance was the fact that the world owes them nothing.
“You get out of it what you put into it,” he said.
For more information about Jeff Yalden, go HERE.
Learn all about The Jeff Yalden Foundation HERE.
To book Jeff now, call (800) 948-9289.