ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Stastistics show teenage suicide rates on the rise across the United States. Experts in Western New York say local numbers follow the same trends and now, one local school district is introducing a new, parent-focused suicide awareness program.
"Unfortunately, our community has been touched by teenage suicide," Lisa Krueger, Assistant Superintendent of Orchard Park CSD, explained. "As a result of that, we never want another family or anyone in our school community to go through what we've gone through."
The district is partnering with the WNY Chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention to present "More than Sad: Suicide Prevention for Parents". The presentation will discuss warning signs for depression and other mental health problems, concerning behaviors, how to start a conversation with teens about the topic and how to get children appropriate help.
"We like to think that this doesn't happen to us, this doesn't happen in our community or to our families," Lisa Krueger, WNY Area Director for AFSP, said. "But, it does. Western New York is no different than any other region in the country."
According to AFSP, youth suicide rates have climbed the last few years. The rate per 100,000 people was 9.9 for people age 15 to 24 in 2006. It was 13.8 for the same age group in 2016.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 16 percent of high schoolers "seriously considered suicide" and 8 percent actually tried to take their life.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you can call the 24 hour crisis hotline for Buffalo and Erie County at (716) 834-3131. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its services, click here.
The two presentations will cover the same material. They are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Orchard Park High School Auditorium and Thursday, Jan. 31 at Orchard Park Middle School Auditorium. They run from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.