New Coalition Formed To Help Prevent Teen Suicide

By Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9
MIDLAND COUNTY - It was a packed room Thursday at the Behavioral Health Care Center in Midland. Many different organization leaders and concerned parents showed up to come up with ways to help prevent teen suicide. This after three teens committed suicide with in a two month period.

"It breaks my heart that we have all these kids that are struggling like this and don't feel like there is anywhere to get help," Charisee Rook, BCA Director of Youth Services, said.

Rook says everyday they get more and more teens who have suicidal thoughts coming in and asking for help. That is why she decided to come up with a way to involve the community in helping these kids.

"We developed this coalition to get agencies and professionals and families together, so we can get the education and the support out in the community on a continuous basis to help prevent suicides in our communities," Rook said.

On Thursday, the new Permian Basin Suicide Coalition had their first meeting. This was open for everyone to participate and come up with ideas on how to help the youth.

"This is an organizational opportunity for us to think about the places that we need to go. What kind of services do we currently have what do, what we need to offer, how do we identify kids early and what kind of actions can we be taking now," Tracey Dees, Director of Health Services for the Midland Independent School District, said.

The law enforcement officers that were present are glad that the community is being proactive with this growing problem.

"Last year, we saw a major increase in mental health and consumer calls. Since we had the suicide with the juveniles and the school district went in and talked with the students, we have had a major increase in calls. It seems like the students are actually reaching out when they know that a fellow student is suicidal and we have been getting a lot of those calls lately," Michael Taylor, with the Midland County Sheriffs Office Mental Health Unit, said.

The new Permian Basin Suicide Coalition hopes to meet once a month. They also plan on starting a coalition that is composed of youth so that they can help their peers. They hope that soon they will get a website up to with all the information that anybody needs about suicide prevention.