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Suicide prevention: Why a local counselor says awareness helps

(Nationwide Children's Hospital)

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for children 10 to 19 years old, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

"I actually think the awareness is better because people do not feel as much as alone," said Sandy Quast, a counselor.

Quast says depression can happen as kids and teens reach puberty and hormones cause chemical imbalances. She says screen time doesn't help.

"Everything's on social media now, so anything that they have done that may have been silly or goofy is now put out across, you know, the public line: their Facebook, other social media," said Quast.

That's why she recommends keeping an eye on behavior.

"If they're starting to be more socially isolated, you know, if kids are not doing what they used to like to do, maybe they're dropping out of clubs or sports, not hanging out with any friends any longer, those are definitely signs of depression," said Quast.

And just talk to them if they are showing any of these signs.

"We flat out ask them if they've felt sucidal in the past and they're really typically very honest, even in front of their parents," said Quast.

Julie Chowning says she tries to always keep an open line of communication with her teenage daughter.

"I just feel like it's important to always talk to your kids about what's going on with them as best you can," said Chowning.

To make raising her teen a little easier.

Quast says the ER is the best place to take a suicidal teen or child to get them stabilized and further evaluated for what kind of treatment they need.

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