August 31, 2014

Tackling teen suicide

New efforts are underway to deal with potentially deadly teenage depressions. It’s a delicate subject with the new school year underway: kids killing themselves. Jon Hisgen, a mental health specialist with the state Department of Public Instruction said they’ve made some strides. “It’s gotten better over the course of time,” he said. “I think part of it is through our concerted efforts to address this universally in classrooms. There are programs that are successful in screening high-risk individuals.”

Still, about an average of one teen takes his of her life in Wisconsin each week. Hisgen hopes new mental health awareness initiatives in schools will dramatically reduce that number. “There are a lot of issues that surround this,” he said, including access to firearms and alcohol. New Jersey has the lowest teen suicide rate in the country, and Hisgen says DPI is using some of their programs to address the issue.

John Colbert, WIBA