Parents, experts reflect on growing number of teen suicides

NBC Charlottes doesn't generally report on suicides, however this week a Mount Holly student took their life and a Lake Norman student attempted suicide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NBC Charlotte doesn't generally report on suicides. However, this week a Mount Holly student took their life and a Lake Norman student attempted suicide.

In 2015, nine percent of high school students in North Carolina attempted suicide, up from five percent in 2011.

"I just hope that no parent has to go through, says Jamie Lynn Emerson. "What I've had to go through."

Emerson is not alone in her pain. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. To some, this is just a statistic. To Emerson, it's a reminder of her loss. Her 13-year-old son Jayden committed suicide last fall.

"He was funny, very funny and he was sensitive," she said. "That may have been one of the things that were hard for him. He couldn't just shrug off a rude comment that someone made to him."

One person dies of suicide every six hours in North Carolina. The number of children included in that number is growing.

"We attribute a lot of that to social media, especially with girls 10 to 14 years of age have seen a major increase in suicide attempt," said Kathryn Falbo-Woodson, a therapist and Suicide Prevention Activist.

A new Netflix series is addressing the issue head on.

"Settle in, I'm about to tell you the story of my life, more specifically why my life ended," said Hannah, a character in 13 Reasons.

The hit series has garnered a huge reaction on social media and is one of the most tweeted about TV series. It is based on a book of the same name and tells the story of a teen girl and the reasons she took her own life.

"As a parent, there's a little bit of a shock in the topics discussed and a little bit of panic," said Psychiatrist, Dr. Laura Stewart.

However, the real-life statistics are just as disturbing. One in 10 high school students attempted suicide in North Carolina last year alone.

"There aren't always warning signs and sometimes there are really subtle signs that you miss as a parent until you face something like this," said Emerson.

Dr. Stewart says talking to your children about suicide may be tough, but it isn't a conversation parents can afford to put off.

"Ask your child would you know if you were having these feelings and most importantly what would you do if you have these feelings," she said.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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