Suicide prevention experts answers tough questions - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Suicide prevention experts answers tough questions

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DECATUR, TN (WRCB) -

A community in Meigs County is mourning the death of a seventh-grade girl. The child's death by suicide is especially rare for someone at that age. Parents and teachers across the area are trying to help. 

As soon as Superintendent Roberts heard about the death of one of his students, he made sure the staff was ready to comfort the rest of the kids.

“Yesterday was a tough day. It was a hard day to be a student at Meigs Middle School. It was a hard day to be a teacher at Meigs Middle School,” said Roberts. Students and faculty mourn the loss of a middle school student who died from suicide early Tuesday morning. Counselors are there to show compassion and answer some of the toughest questions of their career. “It is our responsibility to get folks and make sure folks are available to that population. That they are trained and experienced in dealing with tragedy of this kind.”

Local pastors, counselors, and law enforcement officers will stay at the school as long as it takes. And the conversations won't be easy.  “She had questions about it and I explained to her as much as I could with her being 8, it is not okay to kill yourself and if she ever feels sad or depressed to always come to me,” said Gwendolyn Shaver. She pulled her granddaughter out of school Thursday. The news has just been too tough for the 8 year old. “In their adolescent mind things are magnified X100. Adults, been there done that. A child thinks it’s so much worse than it is.”

Tim Tatum with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network says to end suicide in young adults; people must be willing to talk about it. “We're afraid of suicide, it is a taboo word. People refer to suicide as the silent epidemic because we don't want to talk about it,” said Tatum.

While the Meigs County Middle School community grieves with this girl's family, Superintendent Roberts knows this...”We will come out on the other side of this tragedy, it is tough though.”

The counselors will remain at the school for the rest of the week and into next week.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. For every one suicide among young people - 25 will have attempted to take their own lives. Data in Tennessee shows there are 14 suicides per 1-thousand people. It's the 7th cause of death in ages 10-to-14 and the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 15-to-24.

In Georgia, there are 12 suicides per 1,000 people. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in both age ranges of 10-to-14 and ages 15-to-24.

If you have any questions about the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, click here or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

School Patrol

David Carroll covers education news and issues at schools across the Tennessee Valley.

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