Nebraska teen suicides jumped to 14 last year from 2013's 7

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ The number of teen suicides in Nebraska doubled to 14 last year, so counselors want to redouble their prevention efforts.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports ( ) suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths ages 15-24, and the third leading cause for those 10-14 years old.

Experts say suicide is a complex issue, but it is preventable.

“I think it’s important that we get the message out that there is hope and there is help,” said Dave Miers, who co-chairs the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Last year, 40 young adults, ages 24 and younger, died of suicide.

Young people have different risk factors than adults because they are susceptible to bullying, said Don Belau, the other co-chair and a psychologist and associate dean at Doane College.

Belau said social media sites that teens frequent can reinforce suicidal thinking and feelings of isolation.

“Often youth are not terribly supportive in their messaging,” he said. “You’ll find that there’s sometimes really a significant number of negative messages that the kids may have received.”

The American Association of Suicidology has identified several common warning signs:

- Talking about or planning suicide.

- Expressing hopelessness.

- Showing overwhelming emotional distress.

- And making worrisome behavioral changes.

Miers said most people who consider suicide want to live, but they are have a hard time seeing alternatives to what they are going through.

Last modified onTuesday, 29 September 2015 08:35

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