Thornton principal working to prevent teen suicides

11:29 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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The most recent suicide at Thornton High was Tuesday. Since then, the school's principal, Johnny Terrell, sent a letter to parents.

In the letter, Terrell provides resources and information about suicide. He even lists some of the warning signs like depressed mood, substance abuse, expressions of suicidal thoughts, and poor self esteem.

Sarah Hunter, coordinator for the Adams 12 District Crisis Team, says the district has been aggressively handling teen suicides for the last decade.

"It's important to be honest. It's important to get the facts out, because if we don't get the facts out rumors start and it makes things more complicated," Hunter said. "We've been doing 'Signs of Suicide,' which is a proven program that teaches kids to understand the signs of suicide in themselves and also within their friends and encourage them to get help."

Hunter says they also teach students to tell an adult if they or someone they know are having suicidal thoughts.

Sally Spencer-Thomas is the CEO of the Carson J Spencer Foundation, an organization that works to prevent suicide. Spencer-Thomas says the problem is widespread, but there are measures that can be taken to prevent suicides from happening.

"When they start to occur just know that's a symptom of a big problem. When they start to occur you need to access mental health care immediately," Spencer-Thomas said. "More often, what we get are coded communication like, 'the world would be better off without me' or 'no one cares if I'm dead.' By addressing suicide prevention at a young age we can save lives."

There are several suicidal prevention resources:

iCare Packages: Free resource packets for people bereaved by suicide

Support group listing and tips for healing:

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day 7 days a week and speak with a live person: 1800-273-TALK.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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