The numbers are sobering. Nearly 100 teens commit suicide every week in this country. Here in Nevada, one in 10 young people has attempted suicide.
A non-profit education agency hopes to change that. The Jason Foundation opened 2 offices in Reno Monday. I now bring you more on this group's mission.
It's called the "silent epidemic," and according to the Center for Disease Control, Nevada has the highest rate of youth suicide in the nation.
Monday we met a man on a mission to change that. He brings resources, education, and most important, a commitment to help.
Clark Flatt tells the story of how he found his 16-year-old son, Jason, one summer day 6 years ago. "I tripped over my son's body, he says."
"He had taken my 38 pistol and placed it next to his head."
Four months after Jason's suicide, his father started the Jason Foundation. The mission is to educate young people, parents, and teachers about the threat of teen suicide.
"It builds awareness, tells you signs to look for, and how to get help," Flatt says.
Skate park fan and high school sophomore Anthony Berryhill says he'd like to learn more in the classroom. "Not a lot of people out here talk about it," he says.
Health experts say there's a stigma about the subject and many worry talking about it will lead to experimentation.
But Berryhill says the information would've helped when a friend recenbtly wanted to commit suicide, and he wasn't sure what to do.
"This girl was having problems - family stuff. she always said I'm gonna kill myself. I tried to help her and tell her not to be so stupid," he says.
But for many teens, the solution isn't so simple.
Jason Foundation organizers hope they'll make it easier with school programs and parent seminars. It is how founder Clark Flatt continues to cope with his son's death. "I'm handling my grieving process through this - helping myself and others also," he says.
The Jason Foundation offices will be at West Hills Hospital and the Willow Springs Center.
Organizers are now on the next phase of their campaign - working with schools to provide lesson plans and materials. All of it is free to educators and parents.
www.kolotv.com Extended Web Coverage
Suicide Facts: 1999
Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/suifact.htm (National Institute of Mental Health).