Maybe it's time to talk about teen suicide

CHANDLER, Ariz.-  Nobody WANTS to talk about suicide, but maybe it's the right thing to do. There are parents all over the nation who wish they had an in-depth conversation with their teen before it was too late.

Chandler police are investigating the possible suicide of a 12-year-old boy after he was found with what is being called a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Banner Health is urging parents to pay extra attention after seeing an uptick in teenage patients who reported having suicidal thoughts. 

Jeff Nelson, director of public relations for the hospital, confirmed the statistics to 12 News after an alarming week at three valley hospital locations. Nelson says Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale treated a record high of 25 teen patients in one day this past week. During an assessment, 17 or 18 of them reported having suicidal thoughts.

"I would argue our kids are in crisis," says Katey McPherson, a former teacher and school administrator in the Valley. These days, McPherson educates teens and parents on the dangers social media can have on teenage behavior. 

"There's no zip code that's held harmless at all. There's not family, or community that can say this doesn't happen here," McPherson says.

The spring time is a crucial moment for teen suicide prevention, as the end of a school year brings dark thoughts for many.

"For a lot of kids, school is the safest place they have... and knowing that is going to end in May and have a long extended summer break, it's 'Where am I going to connect with people?'" says McPherson.

All of this coinciding with a popular Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," in which the lead character sends tapes to 13 people who she claimed contributed to her suicide. Many school districts around the country are warning parents about the popular show, but maybe it's the parents who should be doing the warning ...

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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