Experts Say There Are Many Signs That A Teen May Be Thinking of Suicide

Fifteen-year-old Charles Bishop reportedly made some ominous comments to his grandmother on the day he crashed a small plane into a building in Tampa, Florida. He told her "If something happens to me, don't let any of my enemies come to my funeral."

Experts say talk like this is one of many red flags that an adolescent could be thinking about suicide.

Counselors at Pass Christian High School say severe changes in behavior giving away personal possessions and depression are signs that a young person could be in danger of committing suicide. Many times it's other teens who may see the signs first.

"Having the students be aware and relaying that information is a very important form of intervention, and we stress to the students that we're a community here," Doris Weaver, a guidance counselor said. "We're responsible for each other and it's been really neat to see the response."

Psychotherapist Julene Mayewski said "One thing about teens is they can't think of a future. Whatever is happening now is what's happening and if it's terrible then it's gonna be terrible for the rest of their lives."

Experts say parents shouldn't ignore warning signs that their teenager is having trouble coping. But what may seem like a minor problem to an adult can be devastating to a young person.

"Think about your emotions during those high school years," said Weaver. "The hormones are raging so even a little thing like being slighted by your friends or not being asked out to a dance or feeling like you're not at the top of your class what do you do now."

The experts say the problem can snowball. When one troubled teen sees another attempt suicide it may make them think that's the only way out of their despair. Asking the right questions could prevent a tragedy. Simply talking, counselors say, may convince teen that suicide isn't the answers. Officials with Harrison County Coroner's office say there have been five teenage suicides in that county over the last four years.

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by Danielle Thomas