LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens in Indiana, but it’s a death that remains preventable, NewsChannel 18 spoke with mental health professionals Monday who suggest talking to your kids early about suicide and depression.
On any given day at the Crisis Center in Lafayette, Jane McCann can expect to receive a call from a troubled teen. it may be someone calling just to talk and vent frustrations, but many times the call will take on a more serious note when a teen calls in expressing suicidal thoughts.
McCann said about 35% of the calls received at the center come from those in the six to 17-year-old age group, with a large portion of those calls expressing fears of suicide.
“Somewhere around, I would say, roughly around 25% of the calls we receive from youth directly concern suicide,” said McCann.
McCann said she fears not as many teens in the community are taking advantage of the hotline, and stresses that many times it’s parents and friends who have to be pro-active in suicide prevention.
“I think this is an opportunity for parents, relatives, to just come forward and say, ‘I am concerned about hearing that this young man took his life. I am wondering if you’ve ever thought about that, and tell me about what’s going on.’,” said McCann.
So when should parents talk to their kids about depression or even suicide?
Brittany Dian works with Mental Health America and speaks to children as young as eight years old about depression and suicidal thoughts in school outreach programs. She said the most important thing a parent can do is keep the lines of communication open and keep a dialog going about how a child is feeling.
“It’s so hard to sometimes see those things in children, so the best thing to do is just talk to your child, definitely just talk to them. see how they’re doing. Children are never too young to talk to them about anything,” said Dian.
Mental Health America will be holding a Brown Bag Forum on Wednesday, April 11 entitled ‘Recognizing Depression and Anxiety in Your Child.’
An official with the Tippecanoe County Coroner’s Office said since 1988 there have been 385 suicides in the county. 24 of those were committed by those in their teens. She said teen suicide locally is rare and the county hasn’t seen a teen commit suicide in the last three years.
There are several resources available to those feeling suicidal or those worried about someone close to them experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts.
- The Lafayette Crisis Center Hotline can be reached 24/7 at: (765) 742-0244 or the Teen Line at (765) 423-1872.
- Mental Health America can help direct those in need of help at (765) 742-1800.
- Wabash Valley Alliance can be contacted during business hours (765) 463-2555
- Family Services, Inc. (765) 423-5361