B.A. Student's Death Raises Concerns About Teen Suicide
TULSA, Oklahoma - The death of Broken Arrow student Jaymeson West over the weekend is raising concerns about mental illness and teenagers.
Experts are spreading the word to stop tragedies like this from becoming the norm.
Suicide is not something that we like to talk about. It can be hard and uncomfortable. But experts say talking about it and recognizing the warning signs is crucial, and it could even save a life.
"It is the second leading cause of death of young people after accidents,” Mental Health Association Oklahoma spokesperson Julie Summers.
Experts at the Mental Health Association say suicide is the most preventable form of death. That's because most people who die by suicide show warning signs ahead of time.
"If a young person starts to withdraw from their friends and family, if they seem to be very isolated, it may be time to check in with them and see what's going on,” said Summers.
Other warning signs could be your teenager talking about feeling trapped or being a burden, or sleeping way too little or way too much.
If you notice red flags, Summers says the best thing you can do is ask.
She said, "You can ask very directly and just say, ‘Are you thinking of killing yourself or are you thinking of hurting yourself?’"
Summers says it's more important to ask that question than to worry about whether or not you're putting an idea in their head.
"The truth of the matter is, if a young person is thinking about suicide, they're going to be relieved to have somebody raise the question,” she said.
If the answer to that question is yes, Summers says get them checked out by a mental health professional immediately.
If you or someone know is struggling with depression and may be considering suicide, visit Mental Health Association Oklahoma.