by Justin Kree
MIDLAND - With ten teen suicides in less than five years, the Midland Independent School District and community leaders are on a mission to prevent young people from ending their lives.
Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren doesn't know why the student suicide rate is so high. In a recent letter, he addressed the problem for everyone in the community.
"I don't know why the suicide rate is high. I just know we have to deal with it. We can't turn our backs on it. The point of my article is, I think this community is going to step up and go at it head on," Warren said.
Community leaders and organizations are already on board with wanting to help identify students with mental health issues.
Midland County Commissioners Court, Midland Memorial Hospital and the Abell-Hanger Foundation are standing up against teen suicide. However, Dr. Warren believes the community is still lacking some important help.
"We don't have long term, whether it be inpatient or outpatient care for juveniles dealing with mental health issues," Warren said.
Dr. Warren says teachers and staff take online courses and visit with experts to know the warning signs of teen depression. Students are taught how to cry for help if they are depressed. Students are also shown how to find friends who might be hurting mentally.
"We have 50 wonderful counselors in the district. But they're not psychiatrically trained to provide therapy. As a community, we should not have to ship them out of this community to get them the mental health care that they need. We shouldn't have to send them to San Angelo or to Ft. Worth," Warren said.
Overall, the community needs to take part in order to see these numbers decrease.
"We are going to continue to research the best practices out there. We're not going to pat ourselves on the back for anything we've done right now. We are going to be more vigilant and proactive in recognizing the needs of kids," Warren said.