Blue Springs students hear from mental health advocates about suicide prevention

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- The Blue Springs School District had a mental health advocate speak to students on Thursday during the day, and at night held a suicide prevention seminar at Blue Springs High, which was also open to parents.

“I think that it`s a rising problem,” said 18-year-old Brigham Mooney, a senior at Blue Springs South.

Students listened to a speaker who survived his suicide attempt of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

“He told us about his experience that he`d been through with suicide, and he gave us pointers and tips on what we could do if we were feeling similar symptoms,” added another senior, Jake Lamb.

There's been some discussion regarding high rates of suicides in the school district, which says in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of students and families, it would not release information related to deceased students.

The school counselor says it's definitely not an issue solely in this district.

“I think mental health is an issue with all teenagers... not specific to Blue Springs, not specific to Missouri, I mean, the speaker was from Australia today, and talked about how it`s a worldwide issue, it`s not just teenagers either,” said Lisa Peterson, a school counselor at Blue Springs South.

Blue Springs police reported there were three suicides by juveniles in 2015, but added they only have the incidents reported to their jurisdiction, therefore, there could have been more.

“It`s not pleasant to talk about, but I feel like it definitely needs to be talked about,” Lamb said.

“Teenagers are more inclined to keep it to themselves,” Mooney added.

These students say they have heard about suicide rates and do believe it's a big problem, but say they know counselors, teachers, or any trusted adult are there to help.

“There`s a lot of pressure to being a teenager in general,” said Lamb.

“There are more people out there that are willing to help you than you think,” Mooney said.

The school counselor says they have the skills and training to deal with this difficult subject.

“We are always open to new professional developments, new speakers, any resources we can get, but I do feel like we`re trained, and blessed to be in a district that has lots of resources to help kids,” Peterson said.