Edmond Community Bands Together After Spike In Teen Suicides

Monday, January 30th 2012, 10:20 pm
By: News 9

A community is banding together and standing up against suicide. This all comes after police say three Edmond teenagers took their own lives within a two-week period.

Three different schools in Edmond have been suffering in recent weeks.

Police and school leaders in Edmond say the recent loss is the first time Edmond has seen a tragedy quite like this. From January 13 to January 26, in just 14 days, three young lives were cut short in Edmond.

"It makes you wonder what in the world can be so bad that they can do that," Edmond resident Carol Horton said.

The recent deaths are leaving police officials in shock.

"We've never had this kind of tragedy ever in Edmond before," Edmond police spokeswoman Glynda Chu said. "We hope we never see it again."

In Oklahoma, suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens. The recent victims include a 14-year-old boy from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, a 17-year-old boy from Edmond North High School, and a 17-year-old boy from Edmond Memorial High School.

"If we can find any good out of this it will be maybe to save somebody else's life who may be considering this," Chu said.

Since the tragedies, Edmond Public Schools and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City have been counseling students.

In a Statement, the Catholic Church in Oklahoma City says that the entire faculty of St. Elizabeth School volunteered their time to gather during a school holiday to prepare teachers to talk with students. And, in a note sent home to Edmond Memorial parents, the principal wrote in part, " … the well-being of your children is our greatest concern; we love them as we do our own children."

"Suicide is about ending pain, a pain that feels like it's never going to go away," Lisa Harper of Heartline, a suicide prevention call center, said.

Harper says if you suspect a loved one is considering suicide, you should talk to them about it and do not be afraid to face the issue head on.

"You have to be direct," Harper said. "If you're not direct, you're not likely to get a direct answer."

Heartline says the following are common suicide warning signs:

• Withdrawing

• Isolating oneself

• Giving away prized possessions

• Acting down and depressed

• Anger

• Drastic changes is normal behavior

• Drug and alcohol abuse

Heartline recommends being a good listener to anyone who opens up about suicidal thoughts. Heartline says Oklahoma ranks as the 8th worst state in the country for suicide.

If you need help, you are urged to call 1-800-273-TALK.

Due to the recent deaths, the Edmond Police Department says it will start a suicide prevention awareness campaign.