One 15-year old student at Valley Southwoods School in West Des Moines committed suicide over the weekend, and the next day, we’re told, a friend of his tried to do the same thing. So Thursday night, about 150-parents gathered to hear from experts about how to look for warning signs, and how to talk with their children about mourning the suicide death of a friend.
"Your kids aren't going to talk to you if you're not holding it together." Says social worker Laurie Rogers, "I think that it's important that they are seeing that you're sad, and that you're honest with them about your feelings, but you need to be able to talk with them and you need to be able to be present for them."
Parents here were also reminded--times have changed--and kids use social media a lot more to express themselves. Often there are warning signs on a teen's Facebook page for example.
There are other warning signs too, like talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live; increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; and withdrawing or feeling isolated.
"It's an expression of what the brain is doing when it's depressed." says psychologist Jeff Kerber, "It's disconnected. a depressed brain is disconnected from the way a non-depressed brain is. We see that manifest almost all the time. Is it possible to be in the middle of New York City and feel desperately alone?"
There are resources out there for people considering suicide, as well as their family and friends. The best way to find those resources, call the lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.