Program Launched to Curb Problem of Teenage Suicide

Some middle school students have a lot more on their minds, and helping those teenagers could be a matter of life and death.

It can be a silent, but deadly killer, and counselors at Lowndes Middle School are dealing with the issue head on.

John Chick, a Lowndes Middle School counselor, says, "You got one out of five kids suffering from some sort of emotional problem. Well, on our campus there are 1,100 kids. If you do the math, that's a lot of kids."

Whether it is depression, self-mutilation or suicidal thoughts, counselors are optimistic the TeenScreen program will help find those kids suffering in silence, but the middle school isn't alone in this fight, many agencies around south Georgia want to be a part of cure.

Patricia White-Cosey of the Greenleaf Counseling Center says, "I really wanted our agency to work as part of a collaboration with the school system to be aid to the children in our community and so I really got excited about it."

Some TeenScreen volunteers even have personal reasons for getting behind the program.

Alicia Richards, a Moore Street Clinic therapist, says, "I guess maybe 10 years ago when I was in 8th grade we had someone in our class commit suicide so that has always make this a personal interest of mine."

But whatever the reason, organizers say the community support is crucial to the program success.

Richards adds, "If we can help one family, that's a success."

More than 20 members of the community have already been trained for TeenScreen program. Counselors say the student screening process will begin right after winter break.