Teen Suicide Prevention

A Richland teen takes his own life over the weekend, a tragedy no parent ever wants to face.

A local counselor tells me if a teenager begins to withdraw from daily activities and the people surrounding him or her and begins to slip into a mood of depression, it's okay to mention that you notice a difference in that person and ask them if they are thinking of hurting themselves.

West Richland Police were dispatched to a home on Saturday night and found a 13-year-old Enterprise Middle School student had shot and killed himself.

Family members and fire personnel tried to save his life, but nothing could be done.

Child and teen counselor Lynn Owens said teens today deal with a lot of stress and pressure that at times is too much to handle.

Owens said teens typically use a flight, fight or freeze reposnse and in this instance, the unfortunate choice was flight.

Owens said when teens are going through puberty, the emotional part of the brain is supercharged and the self control part of the brain doesnt come in to help until a little later, leaving teens to have less control over their emotions.

For youths between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.

Owens said he's had a number of patients talk about suicide and he does his best to get to the bottom of their issues.

"I want to say, 'Why do you feel that way?' and sometimes they'll know, sometimes they'll have these feelings, they're overwhelmed," said Owens. "Sometimes just them knowing that there's somebody that understands that is enough to ease that tension."

Youth suicides result in approximately 4600 lives lost each year across the nation.

Enterprise Middle School brought in counselors from throughout the district to talk to students and staff who needed some extra help getting through this tragedy.

A note was also sent home with the kids informing parents of what happened and extending help.