Stigma keeps many suicidal teens from seeking help - WNCN: News, Weather

Stigma keeps many suicidal teens from seeking help

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Thousands of teens across the triangle are getting ready to graduate from high school, but an up tick in teen suicides is keeping many from ever reaching that day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the problem continues to worsen.  The CDC says suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 10-24, with 4,600 dying from it each year.  Firearms, suffocation and poisonings are the most common methods.

Sixteen percent of high school aged teens seriously consider suicide.  Thirteen percent have created a plan to do it and eight percent have attempted it.  The numbers also show boys are much more likely to carry out a suicide than girls(81% to 19%), though girls statistically make more attempts.

Reed Berger is graduating from a high school in Cary this spring.  He plans to attend North Carolina State University in the fall.  He'll walk across the stage with a handful fewer classmates than when he started high school four years ago.  That's because of suicides.

"I don't understand, like, what would drive anybody to that extreme.  I mean, life is great," Berger said.  "To end it would be silly."

Licensed clinical social worker Michael Rovaris has counseled countless teens at high schools nationwide.  He says, right now, there's a stigma surrounding suicides that keeps many teens from seeking help.

"We need to get better at allowing people to talk about their feelings," Rovaris said.  "If you were to break your arm or something, there's no stigma to going to the hospital, but if you're hurting emotionally, often times people feel shame in that and we need to remove that shame."

In response to the rise in teen suicides, a number of high schools nationwide have implemented "Yellow Ribbon" clubs.  They're school groups aimed at educating students about the risks of suicide and offering support for those suffering from depression, bullying, academic stress or other problems that could lead to suicidal tendencies.

Help is always a phone call away.  The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at AT 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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