ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Startling numbers of Rockwood High School students who took a survey about suicide has opened the discussion on prevention and mental health. We knew the pandemic had a negative effect on teenagers but not to the extent we discovered as we started to dig deeper.
That is why we combined the knowledge of suicide prevention experts, schools, therapists, doctors, parents, teachers, and lawmakers to talk about the rising number of teens who have or are willing to take their own lives.
The Rockwood School District has scheduled 16 training sessions with CHADS Coalition for Mental Health. The sessions will give parents and trusted adults the signs of suicide and educate them on how to engage their teens in conversation.
The Ferguson-Florissant School District has used CHADS training for several years. Counselors have seen a rise in anxiety and depression over the last year. They tracked searches done by students and found a large percentage of searches on suicide-related topics.
Legislation has also been introduced to make mental health training mandatory for all educators in Missouri. Parents of teens who have died from suicide want schools to do more, saying the teachers are often the ones who could notice changes even before a parent. The goal of our special report is to save just one life. We believe opening the conversation can save many more.
Warning Signs of Suicide (Courtesy: CHADS)
- Talking or writing about suicide
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or like a burden
- Increasing substance abuse
- Serious behavior problems in or out of school
- Strong feelings of wanting to be dead
- Tunnel vision/all or nothing thinking
- Giving away favorite things
- Sudden sense of calm/happiness
- A previous suicide attempt
- Having a history of depression