CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Suicide is now the number two killer of teens in the country.
Heartland counseling centers are preparing themselves to better deal with suicide. In fact, the Community Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau is trying to reach the point of Zero Suicides.
"So we're getting into what we're doing and we're gonna get into those best practices, we're going to be implementing here at community counseling center," said Rick Strait, the Program director at the CCC.
"Places that have started the zero suicide, and are a few years ahead of us, they've seen a dramatic decrease in suicide."
The counselors are also expecting the program to help their patients.
"It's gonna empower us to help our clients so much more and to bring that suicide rate down to zero," said Erin Jackson, an on-call crisis team member.
Jackson and other members of the crisis team counsel people who call into their hotline.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has announced new screening process for teens.
Here are the tips that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to help prevent Teen suicide.
If your teenager has been depressed, you should look closely for signs that he or she might be thinking of suicide:
- Has his personality changed dramatically?
- Is he having trouble with a girlfriend (or, for girls, with a boyfriend)? Or is he having trouble getting along with other friends or with parents? Has he withdrawn from people he used to feel close to?
- Is the quality of his schoolwork going down? Has he failed to live up to his own or someone else's standards (when it comes to school grades, for example)?
- Does he always seem bored, and is he having trouble concentrating?
- Is he acting like a rebel in an unexplained and severe way?
- Is she pregnant and finding it hard to cope with this major life change?
- Has he run away from home?
- Is your teenager abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
- Is she complaining of headaches, stomachaches, etc., that may or may not be real?
- Have his eating or sleeping habits changed?
- Has his or her appearance changed for the worse?
- Is he giving away some of his most prized possessions?
- Is he writing notes or poems about death?
- Does he talk about suicide, even jokingly? Has he said things such as, "That's the last straw," or "I can't take it anymore," or "Nobody cares about me?" (Threatening to kill oneself precedes four out of five suicidal deaths.)
- Has he tried to commit suicide before?
If you suspect that your teenager might be thinking about suicide, do not remain silent.
- Ask your teenager about it. Don't be afraid to say the word "suicide." Getting the word out in the open may help your teenager think someone has heard his cries for help.
- Reassure him that you love him. Remind him that no matter how awful his problems seem, they can be worked out, and you are willing to help.
- Ask her to talk about her feelings. Listen carefully. Do not dismiss her problems or get angry at her.
- Remove all lethal weapons from your home, including guns, pills, kitchen utensils and ropes.
- Seek professional help. Ask your teenager's pediatrician to guide you. A variety of outpatient and hospital-based treatment programs are available.
Suicide is preventable, but you must act quickly.