A teenager's suicide in Ottawa and rumors of a suicide pact has some parents on edge.
Since the suicide of an Ottawa 8th grader on Sunday rumors have swirled about a suicide pact meaning more students could be planning their own deaths. The sheriff's department says so far there's no truth to that rumor, but there are things concerned parents and teachers can be on the lookout for.
"Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, other changes in behavior like isolating themselves or withdrawing from friends. Losing interest in things they used to find really enjoyable whether its sports or band or other extracurricular activities," Josh Ebling, President and CEO of Family Resource Center of Northwest Ohio, Inc., said.
Teen suicide is a growing problem in our area. Ottawa has seen two already this year and according to the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, it's the second leading cause of death in 15 to 24-year-olds in the state. In Hancock County that age group led in the number of overall suicides.
Experts say kids deal with a lot now-a-days and sometimes they don't know how to cope. That's when thoughts of suicide can set in, so the best thing to do is teach kids the proper coping mechanisms and help them through their tough times.
"Validate their feelings when they have an extreme reaction to some negative circumstances in life, but to also normalize those feelings. Frequently we feel like we're out in this ocean by ourselves. Nobody else has ever felt this way and I'm all alone so I have to take this extreme measure," Ebling said.
Sometimes the best thing parents can do is just talk.
"The bottom line always is to talk to your kid. We can't overemphasize that enough. Regardless of anything you might hear or see or observe or be concerned about, first and foremost don't be afraid to talk to your child," Ebling said.
Counselors have been at OG schools this week meeting with students who knew the 8th grader, helping them through this difficult time.