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Go Ask Mom

Triangle mom works to prevent teen suicide

Posted April 18, 2010

Carolyn Zahnow hopes her new book will mean other moms won't have to live through what she did: a child's suicide.

Zahnow's only child Cameron was 18 when he took his life in 2005. He had suffered from depression and drug addiction. He'd been to counseling and rehab, but as Zahnow writes on her website sometimes teens don't know how to get themselves out of that downward spiral.

"I tried," she told me.

Zahnow's book called "Save the Teens" recounts Cameron's final days and provides information about mental disorders; teen depression signs and symptoms; meth and addictions; and survival after suicide.

After her son's death, Zahnow started a journal at the suggestion of her sister. The journal eventually turned into the book.

Zahnow's website includes a list of symptoms that might mean depression in a teen. They include missed classes or poor school performance; an inability to concentrate; loss of interest in usual activities; and prolonged, persistent sad or irritable mood. A combination of symptoms merits a consultation with a doctor or therapist.

Zahnow told me that a key to saving our teens is to stay involved.

"They push away from you,: she said, "but they still need you."

Zahnow also is facilitator of the Wake Forest Survivors of Suicide, which meets monthly.

And she has some events coming up. Zahnow will be at a 7 p.m. May 4 reading at Storytellers Bookstore in Wake Forest. And she'll be at Franklin Academy for a reading at 7 p.m. May 27. 

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