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A desperate call for help inside classrooms. Educating students about mental health

The Hamilton Center Inc in Terre Haute says the rates of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts have nearly doubled in two years.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 9:43 AM
Updated: Mar 6, 2019 2:00 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- New research shows a growing number of young people are thinking about taking their own lives. The numbers show that the stress of school may play a big role.

The Hamilton Center Inc in Terre Haute says the rates of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts have nearly doubled in two years. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

Hamilton Center

1-800-742-0787

Emily Owens, executive director of clinical services at the Hamilton Center, she works one on one with children and teens within Vigo County schools. 

"Anytime a student might be talking about wanting to hurt themselves or others, is for sure a priority," Owens said. 

In the 2018-2019 school year so far, Owens says they've received more than 250 referrals from the school corporation for crisis evaluations. These evaluations are made by anyone about a student may be of concern. 

Of those referrals, Owens says nearly 97 percent are suicidal thoughts. And, 13 percent are hospitalizations. 

"It's high, it's a high percentage," she said. "But, luckily we're here to be able to intervene."

Owens says it's concerning numbers. She says it's unclear whether the problem is school stress or that more adults are actually paying attention to kids who may need help. Either way, Owens says it's important that parents know the warning signs. 

"Some depression, anxiety, or any statements would warrant more evaluation," she added. 

Right now, the Hamilton Center Inc has seven counselors providing school-based services. That's in addition to a number of paired professionals within the schools. She says everyone plays a role in educating children and teens about suicide risk factors. 

To learn more about how you can get help, click here

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