JACKSON, Miss.--Many people in the state are still talking about the suicide of a 17-year-old Newton High student that happened at the school last week. It happened during National Suicide Awareness Month and the Mississippi Dept. of Mental Health wants to get the word out that you can help someone who may be contemplating killing themselves.
I went to the Robert E. Lee Building in downtown Jackson to talk with Kris Jones. She heads up DMH's efforts to curb suicide deaths in the state. Some of the factoids she had on hand may surprise some of you.
"Suicide in Mississippi. for our young people, is the third leading cause of death," she said.
Jones said Mississippi loses about 50 people to suicide each month and that about 40 of those in a typical year are young people. She said often after a person commits suicide, people are left with questions about why.
"Many, many times it is not one single factor that led that youth to make that decision. There are usually multiple factors that are involved. There are usually multiple warning signs," she said.
We asked what you might look for if you suspect someone may be thinking about suicide. Jones said changes in behavior are a strong signal.
"Maybe you have an individual who used to be outgoing and now they want to stay at home. You may see that a person starts to make statements about feeling very hopeless, feeling that nobody can help them or that they are very alone in their situation."
A teen may also be moody or irritable when they are depressed. She said even though teens may act this way normally, it's still a good idea to pay attention.
Jones said talking to someone if you suspect they may be suicidal is the first step in preventing a suicide.
A national hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Interview with Kris Jones of DMH about youth suicide: