Youth suicides in Clark County on the rise - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Youth suicides in Clark County on the rise

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Teen suicides are on the rise in Clark County, according to the annual report from the Nevada Institute For Children's Research and Policy (NICRP) at UNLV.

In 2008 and 2009, there were four child and teen suicides each year.

In 2010 that number nearly doubled to seven, and then in 2011 it jumped to 16.

In 11 of those 16 cases, a gun was used.

"Teenagers can be emotional and impulsive and not quite think through the consequences of all of their actions, and with a firearm, it only takes a second to pull that trigger and then it's over and there's nothing anybody can do," said Tara Phebus of NICRP.

Reasons for suicide may include parent conflict, relationship troubles, school pressures and family financial burdens that trickle down to the children.

Licensed marriage and family therapist Donna Wilburn says the key to prevention is identifying the stress.

"It's just really important for parents to pay attention to how their child is dealing with stress," Wilburn said. "Do not minimize it, do not dismiss their stress. That's what gets them to feeling overwhelmed and then they have no solutions and resort to doing something so drastic."

Some symptoms to look for are drastic changes in moods and a child not wanting to socialize.

In most cases kids won't come out and say their contemplating suicide so it's important how parents, adults and other kids deal with a troubled youth.

"Parents should be helping their child cope with stressors, listening to them and validating them and working with them and being there for them," Wilburn said. "Those are all things that can help your child prevent from getting to that place."

Wilburn also says parents should realize that some kids don't feel comfortable talking to them and you might want to seek out another trusted adult to talk with them or seek professional help.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide and needs someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-784-2433.

There is someone answering the phones 24 hours a day.

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