Local News

Suicide Prevention Program Has Teens Reaching Out To Other Teens

Posted August 17, 2005

— Teen suicide is one of those subjects that can be tough for parents and children to talk about together, but one high school hopes a new program will make it easier for teens who need help to receive it.

In rural Person County, there is only one high school. There, everyone knows everyone. And bad news travels quickly.

  • Video:

  • Resource:

    Helping Suicidal Teens

    (from the American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • Related Web Site:

    National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center

  • Related Web Site:

    National Alliance For The Mentally Ill

  • When two teens committed suicide within two months of one another last spring, students at Person Senior High School were devastated.

    "It was so surreal because there were so many empty seats because all the kids were in the guidance office," said Katharine Lamb, a student at Person High.

    Now, one school group, in which Katharine is involved, hopes to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

    "We wanted to bring a positive light to it," said Katharine Lamb's mother, Lisa Lamb, who is also a teacher at Person High.

    The school's Interact club, headed by Lisa Lamb, Katharine, and her other daughter, Joanne, plans to reach out to teens who may be having thoughts about suicide.

    Each year, almost 5,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 kill themselves. The rate of suicide for this age group has nearly tripled since 1960, making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth.

    "What we really want to do was say we care," said Joanne Lamb.

    They say they will do that through peer counseling.

    "Sometimes it's hard for kids to talk to adults," Lisa Lamb said. "They're afraid their mother is going to be judgmental or scold them."

    In addition, the group plans to send booklets home to parents about teenage depression. Teachers will also be trained to look for trouble signs.

    The group is also planning a rally to celebrate life, "Out of the Darkness, Into the Light," which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 in downtown Roxboro.

    "If we can just make one person smile when they're down -- give one person a break from how hard teenage life is, we've already done something great for our community," Katharine Lamb said.

    And in a small community, that can make all the difference.

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