CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New numbers show an alarming number of high school students in our state are attempting suicide.
On average, two students per high school classroom in North Carolina tried to kill themselves last year.
“It's one of those things you never think will happen to you,” explained Nikki Warren, whose brother Greg died by suicide.
Warren knows now that hindsight is 20-20.
“Looking back, he would cancel plans at the last minute,” she said. “He was napping a lot. There were signs we didn’t see.”
Her heartbreak, unfortunately, has been shared with thousands of other families just last year.
According to NC Child’s annual child health report card, one in 10 high school students in our state attempted suicide in 2016.
“It's a horrible number and you don't want to hear that-- it's heartbreaking,” said Kathryn Falbo-Woodson, a licensed therapist and suicide prevention activist.
“We attribute a lot of that to social media. Especially with girls 10- to 14-years of age, we have seen a major increase in suicide attempts.”
She added that social media is only one potential factor of many, saying suicide is multifactorial-- biological, psychological and environmental processes are involved.
The report also shows that in 2015 more than 9.3% of high school students in North Carolina attempted suicide, compared to 5% in 2011.
“I think this report, really, it's a wakeup call for all of us to say we're not going to lose any more kids to suicide because it's preventable,” Falbo-Woodson said.
She added signs and red flags parents should watch for include:
1. Changes in behavior
2. Isolation or withdrawal
3. Loss of appetite or sleep
4. Giving away prized possessions
5. Cancelling plans
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – North Carolina chapter has several upcoming events:
1. March 19 - Survivor's Event @ Myers Park Presbyterian Church with Dr. John Jordan
2. March 20 - Clinician Suicide Bereavement Training, sponsored with Charlotte AHEC
3. April 4 - NC Inaugural State Capitol Day