Of all my memories of high school, I suspect that the one day I'll never forget is the day I learned that Derek had died. Derek was our homecoming king and a senior with a football scholarship lined up for college next year. He was gorgeous, popular, and academically successful. His little sister found him hanging from a belt in his bedroom.
Derek's death shocked my high school self to the core. The fact that he killed himself seemed so incomprehensible. At the time, I didn't realize that suicide is actually one of the leading causes of death for teenagers, especially boys.
As a parent of future teenagers and someone who works with college-age students in my work life, I'm deeply concerned about the risks of teen suicide. In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, and in memory of Derek, I decided to ask some teens about their thoughts on what teenagers need in order to reduce the rates of attempted or completed suicides.
Read on for their candid, inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking responses about what parents, schools, and friends can do to make sure all our teens have hope.
If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, please let them know they are not alone. Text START to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org.
Image via kikovic/Shutterstock