Counselors worry about rising number of teen suicides

Published: Feb. 7, 2013 at 12:34 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 at 12:37 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Workers at Crisis Services of North Alabama keep the phone lines open.
Workers at Crisis Services of North Alabama keep the phone lines open.

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Crisis counselors are urging everyone to speak up, and ask questions over the danger of teenage suicide.

In recent weeks, stories of teenage suicide have been jolting social media from Huntsville, Madison County, and Limestone County.

Counselors are struggling to keep up and are urging friends, relatives, and classmates to speak up.

Workers at Crisis Services of North Alabama keep the phone lines open, and they worry about the rising numbers of teenagers committing or considering suicide.

"The time period of their life, of being accepted by others, bullying is a problem - that's getting more attention. Teens oftentimes don't have access to the same resources that adults do, for help," said Jessica Rasche with Crisis Services.

She said her counselors don't have any hard numbers, just a general sense that the suicide problem is getting worse, especially in the 15 to 24 age range.

People are afraid of talking about suicide. There's a stigma to it.

Crisis Services workers said they do face a challenge dealing with younger people because that phone line of theirs doesn't get many calls from teenagers, who prefer Facebook, Twitter and online chat.  They said they are working on doing more to open that avenue of outreach to troubled teenagers.

"My generation, the helpers, we have to think like adolescents in order to reach them," said Rasche.

It can spread exponentially further when bullying takes place through social media.  Rasche said teachers, counselors, parents, but also friends and coworkers, need to make sure their own lines of communication are open, especially over an issue as explosive as this.

"It is okay to come out and ask someone, 'Are you thinking about killing yourself?'" said Rasche. "Sometimes we're afraid we'll put an idea in someone's head, but it can be such a relief for someone who really is thinking about it."

Just Tuesday, police reported an apparent suicide in Limestone County.

The Limestone County School System reports that teenager was homeschooled, but the system has a carefully crafted system to watch out for at-risk kids and get successful students to mentor fellow students.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.