LENEXA, Kan. -- Students at Saint James Academy are learning how to boost self confidence and prevent suicidal thoughts.
The proactive approach, called Sources of Strength, seeks to reverse the notion among young people that taking your life is a solution.
Three kids who would have been in Rockhurst High School's graduating class have taken their own lives. Three others in a class in the Raymore Peculiar schools have been lost to suicide.
It feels like an epidemic to more parents, which is why schools like St. James are trying to get in front of the problem.
The suicide rate among young people has jumped by more than 50% in 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's now the second leading cause of death among teens, only behind car crashes.
The youth strength program at St. James seeks to counter feelings of despair and hopelessness by having students identify what gives them strength.
"I think there’s added stress with social media, and I think that causes a lot of people to think of themselves less and feel worthless, and more like expendable," said Aidan Lavery, a senior at St. James.
Sources of Strength is regarded as one of the best suicide prevention programs in the nation.
For a generation that doesn't go outside as much to play, the workshop also shows teens how to have fun with each other in an effort to relax a high school environment that some believe has become all too serious in recent years.
The One Heart Project has helped bring Sources of Strength to more than 20 Johnson County high schools. The non-profit hopes to expand it to other Catholic schools across the metro.
The workshop is regarded as one of the best suicide prevention programs in the nation.
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 (1-800-784-2433).
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