Teens turning to social media in cries for help

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Another Olathe teenager has taken his own life, the second one in a month. Friends of two teenagers who took their lives this summer say their posts on Facebook and Twitter were often dark. But they couldn't see their friends' cries for help until it was too late.

"In many cases, symptoms of depression with teens look a lot more like irritability and anger -- sometimes impulsive behavior," said Susan Crane-Lewis, CEO of Mental Health America.

In fact, social media is becoming a popular place for teens to express themselves. Crane-Lewis said comments from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites reveal how kids are feeling while also being clues about kids in need of help.

"Take it seriously," she said. "This is not something someone should joke about."

Robin Geiger is the mother of three teenagers. She said she monitors her kids' social media content.

"Some kids just read the status and don't comprehend what's being said," said Geiger.

Geiger said she was shocked after her kids showed her a post of a teen who took his own life.

"When I read it, I immediately knew it was a goodbye letter, so they sat there, read it out loud and said it was. A lot of kids express their feelings on social media, but some kids don't comprehend what's going on."

Crane-Lewis said if you read a post and you believe someone is thinking about harming themselves, act quickly.

"On Facebook there is a mechanism where you can forward a post within the Facebook system to say I'm concerned about this post and folks can reach out to that kid."

Mental health experts will be at Olathe North High School to talk to kids in need and teach them warning signs to help others who may need help.


If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately. Go to a hospital,
call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE. Learn more by visiting FOX 4's You Matter section online.

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