AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora Police Department (APD) has recorded seven suicide attempts in the past week by kids ranging from ages eight to 16. Officers now want to raise awareness about teen suicides so parents and educators know what to watch out for.
"That number to me is alarming," said APD Officer Crystal McCoy. "As an officer it is alarming. As a mother it is alarming."
She said she noticed the trend over the weekend.
"I haven’t had the chance to look into what school districts they belong to but fortunately, both school districts have great resources," she said.
"An attempt or not, it is a cry for help," she said. "It is a reminder that we need to be engaged."
Rick Padilla, the father of a former Cherry Creek student, really gets it. His son Jack Padilla was a freshman at Cherry Creek High School when he took his own life in 2019.
He was 15-years-old.
Jack Padilla's parents have made it their mission to save other kids in Colorado, and Rick Padilla is now Denver's suicide prevention administrator.
"When you start to see those warning signs, don’t just assume that is typical adolescent behavior," he said.
He is encouraging families to talk to their kids about suicide so another young life is not lost. He believes it is better to ask the question now than to ask why later.
"The kids are talking about their mental health," he said. "They are talking about suicide and suicide attempts."
According to Padilla, these are some of the warning signs to look out for:
- Talking about feeling trapped
- Talking about being in unbearable pain
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Acting anxious or agitated, or behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or expressing feelings of being isolated
Padilla said he sees this as another health crisis Colorado's communities are facing. It is why he and police are talking about it.
"Suicide is tough to talk about, but it is tragic if we do not [talk about it]," McCoy said.
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