Sunday, October 23, 2016

Teen Suicide Is Contagious, and the Problem May Be Worse Than We Thought

Lucrecia Sjoerdsma sits on a bench that has become a memorial for her daughter, Riley Winters, at Fox Run Park on September 29. Some parents try to hide the fact that their child died by suicide. Sjoerdsma is open about how her daughter died but struggling to understand why she killed herself. Terry A. Ratzlaff for Newsweek

   Lucrecia Sjoerdsma knew what to watch for: the lingering moodiness, the sudden disinterest in what once brought joy. But her daughter, Riley Winters, a ninth-grader at Discovery Canyon Campus High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was always smiling—the 15-year-old used whitening strips because she loved showing off her perfect teeth. “Her smile really matched her personality,” Sjoerdsma says. A petite girl with brown hair that went just past her shoulders, Riley seemed to be a happy, goofy kid and a kind young woman who could sense when others were down and find a way to cheer them up. Riley liked hiking and rock climbing. She spoke of joining the military or becoming an archaeologist, a physical therapist or a dental hygienist. She had plenty of time to decide.
   Even though her mother had no sense that Riley was having problems, she knew it was important to talk to her daughter about suicide, and so she did. Between 2013 and 2015, 29 kids in their county had killed themselves, many from just a handful of schools, including Riley’s. There had been gunshot deaths, hangings and drug overdoses. And then there were those choking deaths the victims’ parents insisted were accidental...

Related: Fourth suicide involving young girl in northern Saskatchewan rocks communities  'The Canadian Press'

See also...'State of crisis' in northern Sask. highlights Truth and Reconciliation calls to action by Courtney Markewich · CBC News

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