MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Every day, around 123 people die by suicide according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The month of September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and in 2018, the week of September 9th to the 15th is National Suicide Prevention Week. The goal of this week is to bring awareness and let remind people of suicide signs.
Wossman High School student Larriuna Shell says it’s hard to know if people are having trouble if they don’t speak up. "A lot of people are going through things and you don't know anything about it,” says Shell.
For every suicide, 25 people attempt it, according to the AFSP. That’s why Wossman counselor Kenya Williams says it’s so important to let people know what you’re dealing with. “So we just try to make sure that students know it is ok for them to come in and talk to us,” says Williams, “we want to make them feel comfortable."
While this week creates awareness for suicide prevention, Williams says prevention and speaking with kids is a year-round job. "It's every day for us, every week we're doing something whether it's informing the teachers to encourage students to talk to us."
Counselor Crystal Boyd with Finding Solace says the suicide statistics are alarming. "For the ages of ten to fourteen, suicide is the second leading cause of death,” says Boyd. She says bullying is another major concern that can cause suicidal thoughts. "if you notice that a child is regularly the victim of bullying being able to reach out either to a teacher, administration or even a parent."
Counselors say the best way to prevent suicide starts by noticing a change in behavior and starting a conversation about it. “We want to be able to teach kids how to notice changes and signs within their friends like if a child goes from playing on the playground and being involved and active to sitting by themselves in a corner," says Boyd.