Counseling Topics & Resources
- Suicide Prevention
- Bullying Prevention
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Dealing with Trauma & Tragedy
- Teen Dating Violence
- Developmental Guidance
To Reduce the Risk of Suicide, Know the Signs
The best way to prevent suicide is through education. Most suicides are related to depression, and, since we cannot always prevent depression (although we can frequently treat it successfully), we can learn to recognize and respond to cries for help from people who feel hopeless and helpless.
Direct messages include statements such as “I am going to commit suicide,” or “I don’t want to live any more.” Indirect messages include statements such as “Life isn’t worth living,” “I want to go to sleep and never wake up,” “Soon it won’t matter anymore,” and “Do you think suicide is wrong?” These are subtler ways that people express their pain and hopelessness, but they just as surely express a desire to die.
Each of the following behaviors by itself may not signal suicidal thinking or depression, but if several are present, there could be cause for serious concern.
- Depression, moodiness, sadness, or lack of energy
- Talking directly or indirectly about dying or committing suicide
- Changes in sleeping habits (too much, too little)
- Changes in eating habits (sudden weight gain, weight loss)
- Discouragement about the future, self-criticism
- Recent lack of concern about physical appearance, hygiene
- Withdrawal from social contacts or communication difficulty
- Giving away prized possessions
- Drop in school grades or work performance
- Acquiring the means for suicide (guns, drugs, rope)
- Making final arrangements, writing a will
- Taking unusual risks
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Preoccupation with death through poetry and/or artwork
- Previous suicide attempts (80% of those who kill themselves have attempted it before)
The following events frequently lead to crisis. For some people, internal and external resources are present in sufficient amounts to cope. For others, intense feelings coupled with a lack of external resources result in serious emotional crisis.
- End of a serious relationship
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Financial difficulties
- Moving to a new location
Essential Steps for Averting Suicide
If you suspect that someone you know is suicidal, remember the following:
- Do learn the warning signs
- Do get involved and be available
- Do be willing to listen
- Do allow expression of feelings
- Do discuss suicide openly and frankly
- Do be a non-judgmental listener
- Do show interest and support
- Do get help from agencies and professionals
- Do remove access to drugs and lethal weapons
- Do emphasize that help is available
- Don’t refuse to talk about it
- Don’t act shocked or outraged
- Don’t be sworn to secrecy (seek help instead)
For more information:
Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas
214.828.1000 (24 hour hotline)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District defines bullying as the following:
Written or verbal expression, including electronic communication, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the District that exploits an imbalance of power and interferes with a student’s education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school, and either
- has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or damage to the student’s property; or
- is sufficiently severe enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
Staff are trained annually on Bullying Prevention, Intervention, and Reporting Procedures. In addition, the district has implemented the following prevention programs:
*R-Time: Relationships To IMprove Education
R-Time is a weekly 10-15 minute lesson designed to foster positive relationships between students. The program was developed and implemented in the United Kingdom in 2002 and was begun in Carrollton-Farmers Branch in 2010. Students are randomly paired with classmates and are asked to engage in collaborative activities while practicing manners and demonstrating respect. The program is conducted on all CFBISD Elementary campuses and has been shown to improve behavior, reduce bullying, raise self-esteem, and accelerate learning. The founders of R-Time, Greg Sampson and Pete Harvey, have come from the United Kingdom to Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD to personally train staff on methodology. For more information about the R-Time program, please visit: www.rtime.info
Negotiate builds upon principles of R-Time. The 15-20 minute weekly sessions focus on “Real Life” and “Real World” situations and is conducted in all Carrollton-Farmers Branch Middle Schools. The program is based on the principle that by placing students in a well defined and supportive situation, they will develop inter-personal skills and positive relationships. Negotiate allows students to develop and express opinions regarding challenging issues, fosters and develops relationships with a wide range of fellow students, exposes students to a wide range of viewpoints, and helps to develop a climate of respect. For more information about the Negotiate program, please visit: www.rtime.info/usa/negotiate.php
For More Information:
The district has established a plan for addressing child sexual abuse, which may be accessed at FFG and/or district improvement plan. As a parent, it is important for you to be aware of warning signs that could indicate a child may have been or is being sexually abused. Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal responsibility, under state law, for reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS).
Possible physical warning signs of sexual abuse could be difficulty sitting or walking, pain in the
genital areas, and claims of stomachaches and headaches. Behavioral indicators may include verbal references or pretend games of sexual activity between adults and children, fear of being alone with adults of a particular gender, or sexually suggestive behavior. Emotional warning signs to be aware of include withdrawal, depression, sleeping and eating disorders, and problems in school.
A child who has experienced sexual abuse should be encouraged to seek out a trusted adult. Be aware as a parent or other trusted adult that disclosures of sexual abuse may be more indirect than disclosures of physical abuse, and it is important to be calm and comforting if your child, or another child, confides in you. Reassure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling you.
As a parent, if your child is a victim of sexual abuse, the campus counselor or principal will provide information regarding counseling options for you and your child available in your area. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) also manages early intervention counseling programs. To find out what services may be available in your county, see
The following Web sites might help you become more aware of child sexual abuse:
Whether experiencing the loss of a friend or loved one or hearing about a disaster on the news, children need support in processing feelings surrounding traumatic events. Below are several links containing helpful information on how to assist students during times of crisis.
Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do
(Downloadable booklet available in English and Spanish)
Dating violence occurs when a person in a current or past dating relationship uses physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control the other person in the relationship.
Examples of dating violence against a student may include physical or sexual assaults; name-calling; put downs; or threats directed at the student, the student’s family members, or members of the student’s household.
Dating Violence Contacts/Resources
Genesis Women’s Shelter
24 Hour Hotline 214-946-HELP (4357)
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District provides Guidance and Counseling support in keeping with the guidelines set forth by the Texas Legislature. The guidance program consists of four components:
The purpose of the guidance curriculum component is to help all students develop basic life skills. It is the foundation of a developmental guidance program. In Texas, seven areas have been identified for the guidance curriculum:
- Self-confidence Development
- Motivation to Achieve
- Decision-making, Goal-setting, Planning, and Problem-solving Skills
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
- Communication Skills
- Cross-cultural Effectiveness
The purpose of the responsive services component is to intervene on behalf of those students whose immediate personal concerns or problems put their continued personal-social, career, and/or educational development at risk. Although counselors respond to any concerns presented by students, some topics have been identified as having high priority and/or relevance within the school setting. Topics of priority in Texas include:
- academic success
- adolescent and child suicide
- child abuse and neglect
- school drop-outs
- severe stress
- substance abuse
- school-age pregnancy
- gang pressures/involvement
- harassment issues
The purpose of the individual planning system is to guide all students as they plan, monitor, and manage their own educational, career, and personal-social development. Schools can systematically use a variety of resources-staff, information, and activities-and to focus resources toward the students and to assist individual students to develop and implement personalized plans. Through the individual planning system, students can:
- Set challenging educational, career, and personal-social goals that are based on self-knowledge and information about school, the world of work, and their society;
- Make plans for achieving short-, intermediate-, and long-term goals;
- Analyze how their strengths and weaknesses enhance or hinder the achievement of their goals;21
- Assess their current progress toward their goals; and
- Make decisions that reflect their plans.
Whereas the three components previously described serve students directly, the system support component describes services and management activities which indirectly benefit students. The services include:
- consultation with teachers;
- support for the parent education program and community relations efforts;
- participation in the campus-based school improvement plans and goals;
- implementation of the state and local standardized testing program;22
- cooperation with relevant research projects; and
- provision of input from the students’ perspective to policy-makers and instructional/curriculum planners.
Source: Texas Educations Agency’s Model Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program for Texas Public Schools—A Guide for Program Development Pre K – 12 grade