Several suicides among local high school students has the Cincinnati community mourning these losses and searching for answers. WCPO’s Tanya O’Rourke spoke with Lindner Center of HOPE Medical Director of Inpatient and Partial Hospital Program Services Dr. Tracy Cummings about what families need to know about suicide prevention for themselves and their children.

According to Dr. Cummings, suicide has become more prevalent in recent years. “It’s striking actually – up to almost 30% increase since 1999.” This may be a conservative estimate due to stigma discouraging people from self-reporting suicide attempts.

Cummings cites risk factors that correlate with suicide attempts, including a family history of suicide, previous attempts, or a recent loss among close relatives or friends. Dr. Cummings also refers to a “contagion effect,” where one suicide within a community may trigger additional attempts by people who are suffering.

Social media use can also affect teens. Suggestions are offered on how parents can approach their kids on the topic of self-harm. Parents should not worry about “implanting” thoughts into their children’s minds by asking them directly about suicide. Rather, it is imperative that parents start a direct conversation with their children.




Watch both parts of Dr. Cummings’ two-segment interview on WCPO’s YouTube Page

Part 1


Part 2


Festival Runs February 27th – March 7th, 2015

ReelAbilities is the largest national film festival dedicated to celebrating the lives, stories and art of people with disabilities.

Lindner Center of HOPE is proud to be a part of the 2015 ReelAbilities Film Festival organized by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD) which runs February 27th through March 7th 2015 in Greater Cincinnati. For the first year, ReelAbilities is including films touching on the subject of mental illness in the festival. For more information about the film festival, click here.

Lindner Center of HOPE is the Host Agency for HERE ONE DAY, a documentary that chronicles filmmaker Kathy Leichter’s move back into her childhood home after her mother’s suicide. The film will be shown at Kenwood Theater on Monday, March 2, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Leichter discovered a hidden box of audiotapes. Sixteen years passed before she had the courage to delve into this trove, unearthing details that her mother had kept secret for so long. HERE ONE DAY is a visually arresting, emotionally candid film about a woman coping with mental illness, her relationships with her family, and the ripple effects of her suicide on those she loved. Click here to view trailer.

Following the film, Lindner Center of HOPE will host a brief panel discussion with question and answers with the audience. Jessica Noll, WCPO, will emcee the discussion.

Panel members will include:

Kathy Leichter, HERE ONE DAY filmmaker

John M. Hawkins, MD, Lindner Center of HOPE, Chief of Psychiatry, Deputy Chief Research Officer, Director TMS Services, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Charles F. Brady, PhD, ABPP, Lindner Center of HOPE, Staff Psychologist, OCD/CBT Psychotherapist, Professor the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Psychiatry

Angela Ostholthoff, CPRP, CPS, Training Coordinator for The Recovery Center of Hamilton County

Shirley Benoit, Patient/Advocate

Here One Day imageHERE ONE DAY

Kathy Leichter / USA / English / 2012 /

76 min. / Documentary / Open Captions


March 2nd, 2015 – 7:30pm

at the Kenwood Theater

Benefiting the Lindner Center of HOPE,  Buy Tickets Here.

To most parents, the idea of talking with their teens about suicide provokes a great deal of anxiety.  If you are the parent of a teenager, you may feel awkward about broaching the subject or wonder why you should even bring it up.

The reality is that such a discussion can be literally life-saving.  Suicide among adolescents has tripled over the last 25 years and is currently the third leading cause of death for this age group. And for every completed suicide, there are approximately 60 unsuccessful adolescent suicide attempts.

Whether your teenager shows signs of suicidal risk or not, it’s worthwhile to have a conversation about the issue.  A natural opportunity for such dialogue can occur with the suicide death of an acquaintance or public figure.  You can begin a discussion about how young people particularly find it difficult to make the best decisions when they are under stress, as their sense of perspective is still developing. Tell your teenager that you know that he or she will suffer a difficult loss someday or make what seems to be a horrible mistake. Let your loved one know that, when that day comes, you will be there for them, and that they will get over the pain.  You can even brainstorm about positive alternatives to suicide.

But what if you are worried than your own teen may be considering suicide? First, be aware of the common signs, such as:

  • Recent talk about death, suicide or “going away;”
  • Expressing thoughts of guilt, hopelessness, or extreme sadness;
  • Giving away possessions;
  • Avoiding friends, family, and favorite activities;
  • Having difficulty concentrating or thinking logically;
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits;
  • Being self-destructive; e.g., cutting, abusing alcohol or drugs.

If you are concerned that your teen may be at risk, don’t be afraid to raise the subject immediately.  It’s absolutely untrue that discussing suicide increases one’s risk – keeping silent is the greater danger. Start with a comment or two about your concern, such as: “You have seemed really sad to me lately – can you tell me what’s going on?”

If your teen doesn’t open up, you can probe further and take a more direct approach; e.g., “I’m concerned about how you’re feeling.  Do you ever feel like you just don’t want to go on?” Or: “You seem really depressed.  Are you having any thoughts of hurting yourself?”

Following are a few “DOs” and “DON’Ts” to consider when talking to your teen:


  • Encourage your teen to talk about his or her feelings.
  • Let your teen do most of the talking – be a good listener. Let them vent, cry, or emotionally unload however they need to.  No matter how negative the emotions, communicating them is a positive step.
  • Provide reassurance and hope; e.g., “We’re in this together; I know you can get through this and will help in any way I can.” Remind them of your love and support, and reassure them that help is available and they won’t always have to feel this way.
  • Develop an action plan. Try to get your teen to agree to a constructive course of action, such as seeking professional help, obtaining further information on coping with depression, etc. Ask your teen to try to hold off for just one more day or hour when they feel like they want to give up.
  • Praise your teen for opening up and having the courage to talk about their problems.


  • Make judgments about your teen’s feelings or thoughts; e.g., “What do you have to be sad about? You’ve got it made.”
  • Use unkind words or criticisms; e.g., “I always have to worry about you” or: “Why can’t you get your act together?” Avoid arguments, lectures, or moral judgments.
  • Minimize your teenager’s concerns; e.g., “You’re just overreacting. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
  • Be afraid of silence. Wait calmly and patiently for your teen to reply to your questions.
  • Offer pointless advice.  Your job at this point is not to “fix” your loved one’s problem but to provide support and a listening ear.

If your teen is in an immediate crisis, try to assess the situation. Find out if your teen has an actual suicidal plan or the means of committing suicide. If so, seek immediate help through your local crisis center, mental health center, or emergency room.  Make sure that any dangerous objects such as guns or knives are not in the vicinity, and do not leave your loved one alone under any circumstances until they are in professional hands.

Just as it sometimes takes courage to live when ending one’s life might seem less painful, it is an act of emotional courage for a parent to open up the difficult subject of suicide with their teenager. By starting the discussion, you may provide valuable support and information that will help your teen with future life choices.