Two Valley mothers organize huge teen suicide awareness event

High suicide rates prompted parents to take part in a school meeting for prevention.

It's a subject you can't find at almost any school. A topic rarely discussed until it's too late.

The topic is teen suicide and it's killing our kids.

"It's absolutely a crisis," said Christina Burke. "This is out of control and Arizona is the hotspot for suicide in the nation."

A mother herself, Burke along with a friend, decided enough is enough so she reached out to experts and organized a town hall meeting.

The idea was simple even if the topic is difficult: Don't be afraid to talk about suicide.

A panel of experts provided information and guidance for patents and kids.

About 400 people turned out for the teen suicide forum.

"The reality is suicide does not discriminate," said Community Bridges Director of Community Education Natalia Chimbo-Andrade.

Already this school year, 10 kids here in the Valley have died by suicide. It is the leading killer of kids 10-14 years old.

Christina Nguyen is the other mother who spearheaded the event. Suicide is personal for her: Not long ago, her daughter tried to take her life.

"I never thought my child was on the edge, not in a million years," said Nguyen.

More than a dozen experts and counselors provided insight and information for kids and parents when it comes to suicide.

Laynie Shellenberger is a senior at Queen Creek High School. She sat in the middle of the crowd next to her mom. Earlier this year, one of her friends died by suicide.

"You feel guilty," she said. "Maybe you could have done something."

Other school districts around the Valley have also started to inform and educate kids about suicide.

The Tempe High School District has the phone number to Teen Lifeline on all student IDs.

If you would like more information or help, you can go to any of these websites:

www.communitybridgesaz.org

www.teenlifeline.org

www.crisisnetwork.org

www.thepathwayprogram.com

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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