UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am
WACO -- It started about 8 years ago when a Junior League of Waco member had a friend who lost their child to suicide. And in response:
"She felt like there needed to be some type of program that would help increase awareness about the issues with the hope of preventing more teen suicide," Junior League of Waco President, Len Brown said.
So the Junior League of Waco put on the 7th annual Suicide Prevention Symposium, hosted by Education Service Center Region 12 today, to talk to teachers, counselors and parents about the signs of one of the most dangerous trends in schools, bully.
"Students are bullied to a point where they contemplate suicide," Director of Teen CONTACT Program, and guest speaker, Missy Hall said.
The suicide rate for those 15 to 24 years old has increased by about 6 percent in the past 10 years and 20 percent of school aged students have depression. Wall says it's because of the trend toward social isolation, which is mainly caused by the internet and social networking sites like Facebook.
"And the thing is that they're reading those comments by themselves [on Facebook], and so they're filtering that. And sometimes their solution is that, 'well this is all about me, so I must be the factor, therefore maybe I need to take myself out,'" Wall said.
She also says the best way to prevent bullycide is to equip student with the tools they need to help another struggling teen.
"They see when a student says they're thinking about suicide, or that they're being bullied and so what we hope is the students will have those tools to be able to respond to one another and to maybe see a warning sign in another student, and to report it."
Wall said some warning signs for bullying, depression or contemplation of suicide include isolation, changes in friends, not eating, isolating themselves from people to be on their phones or networking sites, a flat affect or not showing emotion and a dip in grades and performance.
Other speakers Thursday included Dr. Allen Beane and Dr. Michael Fowlin.