Suicide Leading Cause Of Death Among Utah Teenagers? Experts Advise Parents To Speak To Their Kids About Mental Health

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald January 19, 04:00 am
A photo showing the 12-year-old Georgia teen who took her own life and livestreamed it on Facebook. Parents are urged to talk to their children about suicide.
(Photo : Inside Edition/YouTube)

Just recently, a teenager in Georgia streamed her suicide on Facebook Live wherein she talked about being abused by her step-father and profusely apologized to the people she loved for taking away her life. Now, it was reported that in Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death that is why experts are urging parents to talk to their children regarding mental health.

In Utah, the advice came after a Skyline High School student took away his life. The 17-year-old was identified as Andrew Garcia. A candle light vigil was held at the school to remember him. The grandfather of the teen, Wayne Voorhes, said during the vigil that there is a way to prevent suicide in the future, Good 4 Utah reported.

Voorhes noted, "If they are having problems they need to reach out to somebody, and not necessarily their parents." Voorhes continued to say his grandson was a straight A student and had a lot of scholarship offers from many colleges but it remains unclear what happened to the teen that pushed him to kill himself.

Don Fennimore, the supervisor of the University of Utah's Mobile Crisis Outreach center, said teenagers deal with more stresses and pressure now than teens two decades ago. One of the factors that make it more difficult for teens now is the social media. Fennimore said that teens are not equipped to handle such stress so they wind up having emotional problems, depression and anxiety.

Social media makes children believe they have to be perfect so they make more impulsive decisions than adults. They are then more at risk to suicide if they fail at one point such as being arrested, getting bad grades, or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Experts believe one way to say teens are bothered by something is if they break from their routine such as no longer hanging out with their friends, skipping activities they used to love or spending a lot of time alone. Experts urge parents to engage their children in a conversation until they tell them what is wrong.

In Georgia, after the viral video of the suicide made rounds online, WHAM reported that school districts released letters to parents regarding the topic of suicide. Many of the letters urged parents to monitor the activities of their children on social media.

Cheryl Long, a suicide prevention advocate, said parents should talk to their children regarding the teen who killed herself. The video remained on Facebook and authorities cannot do anything about it so it is better that parents would talk to their children about their thoughts on the 12-year-old teen who killed herself.

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