Basin Psychiatrists, Counselors Host Forum Fighting Suicide

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - The CEED building played host to a crowd of officials, teens, and parents alike on Thursday night, all waging what they feel to be the most important battle against suicide.

The battle for knowledge.

Psychiatrists with the Behavioral Healthcare Center in Midland, who put on the forum, said arming schools and individual families with the right ways to talk about and prevent suicide, before it's committed, is the key.

"The completions are much rarer, and I think having three in about a six-week period exceeds the national average," BCA Child Psychiatrist, Roddy Strobel, said. "It really raises that red flag for alarm."

The forum addressed the different factors that go into suicidal thoughts, like the loss of a loved one or a break-up.

BCA officials also tried to debunk myths that suicidal teens are just seeking attention and that they don't really mean it.

Terri Blair has been a counselor at different Odessa elementary schools for three years. She said she came because she's seen suicidal thoughts in even younger kids.

"I have, yes. Like, 2nd grade," Blair said.

BCA officials also addressed bullying, saying 75% of the kids they see are being bullied both on Facebook and face to face.

Blair said she came to learn how to communicate to kids that they can open up to her if they're feeling that troubled.

"That we're somebody that they can reach out to for help," she said. "They need somebody in their lives to help them and we're there for them."

Midland ISD officials, including Superintendent Ryder Warren, were also in attendance, gathering more information they will use to properly arm their students and their families.

"It's a subject that we have a tendency to shy away from and are uncomfortable talking about," MISD Health Service Supervisor, Tracey Dees, said. "We're here to make sure that the information we have is exactly what we should be sharing with our kids."

Also mentioned at that forum was a new project planned on being put forward by the Behavioral Healthcare Center. They mentioned they're forming a suicide prevention coalition.

There is no word at this time who will make it up or what it will do in the future.