Archive | May, 2017

Preventing Suicide: Suggested Resources and Contact Numbers

17 May

The new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based on the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, has a lot of people discussing teen suicide.  Suicide is an important topic since each year in the United States over 34,000 people die by suicide and over 860,000 people attempt suicide, which averages to a person attempting suicide every 38 seconds.  Too often the topic is viewed as taboo and people incorrectly believe that discussing suicide with a depressed person may put the idea in their head.  When I was in high school a classmate committed suicide; she was a sweet, funny, and smart girl whose loss was felt by many.  For this blog I wanted to give along with some books our library patrons can check out on the topic, some helpful phone numbers.

Remember, whether you yourself are in crisis or you are the family member or friend of someone who is, there is help out there and you don’t have to go through this alone.

NJ Hope Line 1-855-654-6735
New Jersey’s 24/7 Peer Support & Suicide Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio 1-888-628-9454
Provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for yourself or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Here are some books available from BCCLS Libraries on the Topic of Suicide.

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Understanding Suicide: A National Epidemic, by Connie Goldsmith

Goldsmith examines causes of suicide and its impact on those whose loved ones committed suicide.  Understanding Suicide also looks at coping techniques and warning signs.

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Image via Amazon

Teen Suicide, by Judith Galas

In Teen Suicide, Galas looks at the rising issue of teen suicide, possible causes, and possible preventions.

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Teen Suicide, by Lorena Huddle and Jay Schleifer

The Teen Mental Health Series is written for teens in simple language to give them an overview of common mental health issues.  Teen Suicide looks at some of causes of suicide attempts, how to help someone that may be suicidal and places to look for assistance.

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Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide, by DeQuincy A. Lezine, with David Brent

Eight Stories Up chronicles Lezine’s own struggles as well as providing expertise from psychiatric expert David Brent about the causes and treatment of suicide in young people.  Eight Stories Up is part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written for teenagers.

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Beyond Bullying: Breaking the Cycle of Shame, Bullying, and Violence, by Jonathan Fast

Beyond Bullying looks at causes of bullying.  Fast specifically looks at the harassment of LGBT teens that can lead to suicide, domestic abuse, and school shootings.  The author also makes suggestions for stemming the tide of bullying.

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Healing Suicidal Veterans: Recognizing, Supporting and Answering Their Pleas for Help, by Victor Montgomery

With a large number or returning veterans having symptoms of post-traumatic Stress Disorder, there has been an increase of suicides among the veterans returning from the Middle East.  Montgomery, himself a veteran, discusses in Healing Suicidal Veterans true stories of veterans’ experiences with mental health issues.  He also discusses warning signs and strategies for assistance.

Veterans in Crisis can call these numbers for help specifically for them:
Veterans Counseling Hotline CALL 1-866-VETS-NJ4 (1-866-838-7654)
Provides 24/7 peer support from Veterans who can relate, and case management – they follow up with you.

Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Veterans Press 1 or send a text message to 838255
Connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders.

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How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention, by Susan Rose Blauner

Blauner herself is the survivor of multiple suicide attempts and in How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me, she discusses her own experiences as well as coping mechanisms for those experiencing suicidal thoughts including support groups, journaling and creating a crisis plan.

For more information about services that can help for our local readers visit State of New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services: http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmhas/home/

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

A Librarian Takes on the Read Harder Challenge: Crazy Rich Asians for Task 6, and Drama for Task 7

12 May

A week’s vacation and a seasonal-allergies-induced sinus infection have given me a lot of recent downtime to read. As a result I’ve made more progress on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge! I have completed FOUR tasks since my last post. I will write about two tasks here, and the next two in another post.

(Click here to read more about my Read Harder journey.)

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Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan

For my sixth task (Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color) I chose to read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, which was long on my to-read list. This novel starts with Nick Young inviting his girlfriend Rachel Chu to accompany him to Singapore for a wedding and to meet his family. What Nick fails to tell Rachel is that the wedding is the hottest social event in Asia, and that his family is crazy-super-mega-wealthy, making him the most eligible bachelor among Singapore’s elite. Poor Rachel is the lamb brought to the slaughter on what she thinks will be a fun vacation with her boyfriend.

Each chapter alternates between the points of view of Nick and Rachel, Nick’s cousin Astrid Leong (one of the few relatives in Rachel’s corner but experiencing her own struggle in the b-plot), and Nick’s tenacious mother Eleanor. Be prepared to armchair-travel when the novel moves between London, Paris, Singapore, Shanghai, Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sydney, and other exotic locations.

The story was super dishy–the characters like to gossip. The descriptions of the palatial homes and the luxe places the rich live and gather will make your jaw drop. What spoke to me was the food talk that may make you hungry. Singapore is known for its markets with street food stalls that I want to explore. In particular, I want to try goreng pisang (deep-fried banana fritters). I am by no means wealthy enough to hang with real crazy rich Asians, so the street markets are most likely within my budget.

Crazy Rich Asians will shock you, make you laugh, and make you hungry. If you don’t read the book, definitely see the film adaptation (shooting now) when it hits theaters. I look forward to reading China Rich Girlfriend and the upcoming Rich People Problems, all part of the Crazy Rich Asian series.

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Drama by Raina Telgemeier

In the seventh task I completed (A book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country) I read Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Drama follows Callie, who is part of her middle school’s drama club stage crew, as she and the cast and crew prepare for an upcoming musical production. She has a couple romances, including one with a boy who realizes he is gay. The inclusion of gay characters resulted in challenges (which are formal, written complaints submitted to a library about a book’s content) and bans (removal of a challenged book from a library’s shelf) of this book. For more on the case of Drama, click here to read an analysis by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. At this link is a roundtable discussion including librarians about challenges against Drama.

I was familiar with Telgemeier’s work, having read her graphic novel adaptations of The Baby-Sitters Club (my favorite books to read as a kid!) and Ghosts, which is set during a Dia de los Muertos festival (a celebration I am fond of) and is an emotionally devastating story.

As a musical theater geek, I enjoyed how the book was set up with an overture and acts like an actual musical. I love the diverse characters Telgemeier incorporates into her stories and the sensitive way she addresses tough topics in her work. Also, I got a kick out of Callie’s annoying little brother Richard, as an annoying little sister myself. I plan to read Smile and Sisters, also by Telgemeier.

Stay tuned for my next post, about Tasks 7 and 8!

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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