Hidden Epidemic: Teen Suicide
7 Healthcast: Hidden Epidemic: Teen Suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers.
"A recent study found that "53,000 high schoolers in Indiana seriously considered suicide," says Amy Tobias of Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis. "It's astonishing."
"They feel so helpless. They don't see a way out," she said.
Sarah Wood, 16, has seen that place.
"It was terrifying. I believed no one loved me. I believed that if I killed myself, no one would care and that my parents and friends would be better off without me," she said.
Sarah was a middle school student when she told a friend of her plan to overdose on drugs, had the friend not intervened.
Suicide among young people is largely an unseen crisis.
Warning signs among teens in turmoil are often missed by parents and friends who think they know these kids the best.
Sarah Wood says even her parents didn't see her deep depression.
"I put on a smile. People told me I was the happiest girl alive. I acted as normal as possible. I broke down only when I was home alone," she said.
Mental health experts say teachers and coaches, not parents, are sometimes in the best position to recognize the warning signs.
"It's been slowly building up to the point, it's so gradual they may not recognize some of the problems we see," said Brad Canagny, Lawrence North High School.
Sarah is now a happy Lawrence North High School junior who courageously shares her message with students.
"As scary as it may seem, just realize that who ever you go to, to talk to, they are going to love you and care about you and support you and help you get help," she said.
Experts say talking, asking questions and getting answers among the keys to preventing suicide.
Unfortunately, the warning signs - depression, excessive sleep, sudden and drastic changes in habits - are easily confused with typical teenage behavior.
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