Asking for help is an important skill that, unfortunately, often has stigmas attached to it. You can encourage your children to have courage to overcome the stigmas and teach them how to ask for help. Being able to ask for help can improve your children’s mental health, resilience, social interaction or connections with others, and other skills.

1. Let them know you’re there to help them. Give examples of how you used to help them, how you could help now, and how you find help when you need it. Emphasize that everyone needs help sometimes, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Be prepared. Make lists of:

  • People who could be helpers in different situations. For example, what trusted adults or peers are at school that your children could go to for help? At extracurricular activities?
  • How to ask for help. Some ideas include:
  • Communicate clearly what help is needed.
  • Avoid saying “sorry” when asking for help; they are not doing anything wrong by asking.
  • Specific phrases to use. For example, “I’ve tried ___ and ___, but I’m stuck now. Can you help me?”
  • Consider role-playing help-seeking situations with your children so they can practice.

3. Help them become comfortable asking for help. When your children ask you for help, make it a positive experience so they will want to ask in the future. Respond positively, give them your full attention, and validate their feelings.

4. Explore different methods for asking for help. If needed, think of other ways to ease your children into learning how to ask for help. For example, create a system where they can leave notes in a box outside your bedroom door that you can address over dinner or during a one-on-one conversation with them.
Note: The information in this newsletter is a starting point and may not be effective for all children or all situations. Individual counseling can be helpful in tailoring strategies to meet individual needs.

How to Say “No”
Saying “no” often takes courage, but it’s important when setting boundaries. Boundaries are self-set limits to protect oneself. Below are some ideas on how to teach your children to say “no.”

5. Encourage them to think about and set their boundaries before anyone crosses them. Saying “no” can be even harder if no boundaries are in place. To help them get started, ask them what their priorities are and how they want others to treat them.

6. Come up with possible ways to say no.

  • “That doesn’t work for me this time.”
  • “I’ll talk to my parents and let you know tomorrow.”
  • “Thank you for thinking of me, but I have other commitments that night.”
  • “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
  • “No thank you, but I appreciate the offer.”

7. Role-play to practice saying “no.” Encourage them to be direct (in a kind way) about saying no and to be truthful. They don’t need to make up an elaborate excuse for why they’re saying “no.”

Note: The information in this newsletter is a starting point and may not be effective for all children or all situations. Individual counseling can be helpful in tailoring strategies to meet individual needs.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicidal thoughts can affects anyone. The stigma surrounding suicide can make it difficult for people who are struggling to speak up. This month especially is a time to raise awareness and help people find the resources they need. Here are a few ideas on what you can do to participate:

About the Author

Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall is a former high school principal and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. He has been involved with suicide prevention for the past thirty years. He is nationally sought after for his expertise in postvention.

Dr. Hudnall is the founder of Hope4Utah, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. The school-based program, Hope Squad, has been responsible for over 5,000 students referred for help and over 1,000 hospitalized. The Hope Squad program is now in over 950 schools around the world.

For over fifteen years Dr. Hudnall has led a state-wide volunteer suicide crisis team that has responded to over fifty youth suicides.

Dr. Hudnall has presented at over 100 national and state conferences on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. He also presents on bullying, connectedness, community collaboration, and school safety. Dr. Hudnall was invited to testify before the United States Surgeon General on suicide in Utah. He has presented to the U.S. Department of Health and at the national conferences of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Suicidology. Dr. Hudnall was also invited to participate in a webinar on African Americans and suicide by the White House.

Under Greg’s direction, over 60,000 people nationwide have been trained in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. He has presented across the United States and to many countries around the world on suicide prevention, including to the Minister of Education for Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Hudnall is considered one of the leading experts in community and school-based suicide
prevention, intervention and postvention. He lives by the mantra, “while it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire community to save one.”

To learn more about Dr. Hudnall, youth suicide prevention and HopeSquad, go to: https://hopesquad.com/.

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