Alarming Numbers Released On Teen Suicide

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Suicide Prevention Resources

Boys Town Hot Line

National Suicide Hotline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

American Association of Suicidology
On the Web:

Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition
On the Web: suicideprevention

Nebraska LOSS Team
On the Web: nelossteam

Alegent Creighton Health
Any age to call for suicide help

Suicide Survivors Help Groups
On the Web: Support Groups

Douglas County is home to an alarming number of youngsters who have tried to commit suicide. The local number is nearly twice the average found across the rest of the state and twice that of the national average as well.

Of the 1,087 students ages 15 to 19 who returned surveys on various issues involving youth risk behaviors, 12.4 percent of them said they had attempted suicide in the past year. Of those attempts, 6.1 percent resulted in the need for medical treatment. That is also twice the national average.

Jason Rosso knows about the torment behind the numbers. His daughter Lauren fell victim to depression and was in treatment for it, but she ended her life at the age of 16.

Lauren was a vivacious teenager. "Very outgoing," said Jason. "I think at her funeral there were 1,500 people there."

She turned a dark corner quickly. "She was very good at sports. Her first love was volleyball. As the depression sank in, that will to play kind of went away."

Rosso found himself on unfamiliar ground at a news conference Wednesday, but he stood firm, steeled by the important message he had for parents and the hope of bringing suicide out of the shadows.

He told Lauren's story. "She was diagnosed with depression, bi-polar, you know, just basically whatever there was she basically had it." It brought an end to her life last year. The long battle with her mental illness culminated in suicide on November 8, 2012.

Rosso says it's now his mission to bring suicide out in the open, to sound an alarm and shine a light on prevention. "All I'm trying to do is bring awareness to suicide, that it is here. We need to get the numbers down. I'd like to see a world with no suicide."

Rosso joined forces with the Douglas County Health Department to help get the message to an area at risk. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, to have to go through this. I just think it is time to talk about it and time to address it."

Dr. Monica Arora, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Alegent Creighton Health Psychiatric Associates, offers parents some advice and warning signs to watch for:

  • Take any and all threats seriously
  • Take notice if the child is preoccupied with death
  • Isolation
  • Significant decline in social, athletic and academic behaviors

"Suicide is preventable. That is the key factor that we have to remember. It is not a disease. It could be a result of something they may be struggling with. It is completely preventable. We just have to know when to intervene. I believe that parents are the best advocates here because they are there with the kids and they would know their kids better than we would ever know."

No sign is too small. Help is close at hand. Web connections, phone numbers and other references are listed above in the gray-shaded Suicide Prevention Resources panel. Click here for more information.

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