How to prevent adolescent suicide

How to prevent adolescent suicide

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 5 to 24 and it has parents especially concerned. 

Lubbock ISD counselor Steve Talbert addressed causes, symptoms, and steps to preventing adolescent suicide during a workshop hosted by First United Methodist Church.

"We've got people who are just concerned and people who are like what if, and what would I be able to do if something like that were to occur because I'll bet you, everyone knows somebody whose committed suicide," Talbert said.

He said the easiest thing anyone can do is listen.

"So many times, people want to say that they've got issues, they've got worries, they've got concerns," Talbert said. "But then the parents tend to shut them down, not intentionally, but it's just like 'oh you're just a teenager, get over it, it's going to be okay, look at everything you've got, why would you think that?' and that stops the process."

Counselor Shera Atkinson, with First United Methodist said it is a growing concern.

"Unfortunately, across Lubbock we've seen a rise in teen suicide," Atkinson said.

She knows it is a message the entire community should hear.

"People don't have to be a counselor to make a major difference in someones life," Atkinson said. "All they have to do is be able to listen and when you hear the ques that there is a problem, you hear the signs that there is a problem, all you have to do is be supportive and make sure that they get appropriate referrals, appropriate help." 

Some common signs Talbert said to look out for, depressed mood, substance abuse, family loss or instability, and expression of suicidal thoughts. He said the best way to approach someone showing these signs, just ask. 

"You just ask them, are you thinking about killing yourself," Talbert said. "Because they will tell you, people who are contemplating suicide, are gonna say, yeah I'm really thinking about it, how'd you know?" 

He said the next step is guiding them to resources that can help. Below are links to national and local hotlines.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Starcare Lubbock:  - (806) 740-1414

Contact Lubbock: 

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