World Suicide Prevention Day – September 10, 2018

Awareness months, weeks, and days offer people opportunities to talk about, advocate for, and support common and vital causes. September 2018 marks the National Suicide Prevention Month, and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

There are few social topics that carry more stigma than suicide.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and each year approximately 45,000 Americans die by suicide. It is estimated that for every death by suicide there are at least 100+ people who are impacted by the death.  These survivors often suffer extreme grief and loss or are affected in other ways.

Talking about suicide or the impact that a suicide has on a family and/or a community can be a challenging conversation for parents and caregivers. As parents, there may be a time when this is a conversation that you will need to have with a child. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers important tips to remember when talking to your child about someone who has died by suicide.

  • Be honest. Don’t lie to a child or pretend a death by suicide did not happen.
  • Talk to your child about mental health and mental illness.
  • Be open to your child’s emotions. Comfort your child and answer his or her questions honestly.
  • Reassure your child that, even though a suicide occurred, the person who has died loved and cared about him or her.
  • Avoid sharing graphic details.
  • Allow your child to ask questions about faith and religion.
  • Seek professional counseling and support the grieving process.

Take time to educate yourself about suicide and suicide prevention. Some great resources include the following:

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact these free, confidential, 24/7 resources:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741

Healthy 5210 Lunches for Back-to-School

Back-to-school means adding that extra step of preparing lunches for the school day. Remember the daily dose of at least 5 fruits and vegetables and 0 sweetened beverages when packing school lunches, and try to include a variety of healthy options.

If your kids are picky eaters, try these ideas to help kids eat healthy:

  • Get kids involved and have them help make and pack lunch foods.
  • Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of foods like sandwiches, deli meat, and cheeses.
  • Use wraps and fill them with tuna, chicken, or even veggies to make fun roll-ups.
  • Include fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and granola or bran flakes to sprinkle on top of yogurt.
  • Pack individualized items for kids to make their own meals, for example taco fillers, veggie tortilla pizzas, chips and bean salsa, and cracker stackers.
  • Include low-fat dips, like hummus, for vegetables.

If your mornings are rushed, try these ideas to save time:

  • Use dinner leftovers!
  • Pack the night before to save time in the morning.
  • Buy fruits that don’t require manipulation, like bananas, apples, pears, and oranges.
  • Pre-make and cut foods, like hard boiled eggs, carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, and tomatoes for easy grab and go options.
  • Make stackable foods in containers for the next day – or even the week – for example, salads and yogurt parfaits.


Additional Resources:

Back-to-School Healthy Lunch Ideas:—by-devin-alexander

ONLINE WEBINAR: Implementing 5210 Healthy Military Children in the School

WEBINAR LINK: Implementing 5210 Healthy Military Children in the School

5210 Healthy Military Children is a health promotion campaign designed to improve families’ and children’s health. 5210 spreads a simple message about health-promoting behaviors in your community, where families work, live, and play, and how parents can aid in supporting children’s health.

Implementing 5210 within the school is a great way to promote healthy behaviors for children and families! We, at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State, would like to help you get started! Click on the link above to watch a brief webinar showing you how to get started with implementing 5210 Healthy Military Children in the school!

Helmet and Bike Safety

Whether used for transportation or just for fun, bikes can be a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise! When parents encourage their children to practice bike and helmet safety, they can help prevent some injuries that can occur while riding, such as concussions. Perhaps most importantly, both children and adults should always wear a helmet every time they ride a bike – even on short rides. While not all injuries can be prevented, a good-fitting helmet can provide protection to one’s face, skull, and brain if a fall occurs. But with so many options, finding the right helmet for your child may seem overwhelming.

Follow the guidelines below for some help!

  • As helmets are so important, the U.S. government has created safety standards for them. When purchasing a helmet for your child, look for a sticker that says it meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
  • Helmets should fit snugly all around, with no space between the foam and the rider’s head.
  • The bottom of the pad inside the front of the helmet should be one or two finger widths above the rider’s eyebrows. The back should not touch the top of the rider’s neck.
  • Make sure you can see your child’s eyes and that he or she can see straight forward and side-to-side.
  • Side straps should make a “V” shape under and slightly in front of the rider’s ears.
  • No more than one or two fingers should be able to fit under the chin strap. When your child opens his or her mouth wide, the helmet should pull down on their head. If it doesn’t, the chin strap needs to be tighter.
  • The helmet should not move in any direction once the chin strap is fastened.
  • If your helmet is damaged or has been through a crash, get a new one! Helmets are designed to help protect the rider from one serious impact.

Riding a bike that is in good condition and is the right size for your child can also help keep him or her safe! To quickly test a bike to see if it is the right size, have your child stand straddling the top bar of the bike with both feet are on the ground. There should be 1 to 3 inches of space between your child and the top bar. Also, always check that your child’s bike has brakes that work well and the tires have enough air.

Once your child has a helmet that fits and a bike that is the right size, he or she is ready to ride! Helping your child to understand and follow the following safety guidelines can help keep him or her safety while riding:

  • Always ride with hands on the handlebars.
  • Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, a curb, or an alley.
  • Use bike lanes when possible, and always ride on the right side of the street, in the same direction as cars.
  • Stop at all stop signs, obey traffic lights, and learn appropriate turning signals.
  • Ride with friends in a single file line.
  • Do not wear headphones while riding a bike. Music may distract the rider from noises, such as car horns.


Centers for Disease Control. (2015). Get a heads up on bike helmet safety. Retrieved from

Kidshealth. (2014). Bike safety. Retrieved from