TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The suicide rate for teens in Vigo County is down so far this year. To date, there have been no teens that have died by suicide. There have been ten adults, including a 20, 21, and 24-year-old, according to the Vigo County coroner's office.
"Suicide happens all the time...it's all around us. If somebody's not dying by suicide, we have so many that are thinking about it," said Christina Crist, the founder of Team of Mercy.
Crist lost her daughter to suicide in 2013, which led her to found the organization.
Local support groups like hers say even though this is the case, that doesn't mean there is less risk.
The suicide rate in Vigo County has fluctuated over the past few years. The coroner's office tells News 10 there were 16 suicides in 2019. In 2020 there were 23, including a 15 and 18-year-old. This year, there have been 10 so far, none of whom were teenagers.
"As a community, to decrease, you know, adolescents and teens committing suicide, completing suicide or even having those thoughts is to be mindful," said Emily Owens, the Deputy Chief of Clinic Services at the Hamilton Center.
Owens also says that means it is important to be willing to have tough conversations with your kids.
"The first thing is to try to engage with your youth and ask those questions. Tell them, you know, you want to know what's going on," said Owens.
The key to prevention is to catch the warning signs early, which is not always easy.
"Especially with teens, sometimes it's hard to differentiate, if it's, you know, more of a suicidal thought or if it's just normal teenage behavior," said Owens.
This is why she tells us it is important to catch the warning signs early. Those might include cutting themselves off from friends or parents. Substance abuse or talk of self-injury or death may also be a red flag.
Owens said, "those are definitely risk factors you should take into consideration."
If you see any of these warning signs, there is a way to help.
"You want to let them know you care and that you're there to support them," Owens said.
Taking these simple steps could help save a life.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can call the national suicide prevention lifeline. Their number is 1-800-273-8255. In the case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.