Survey: Local Students Were Twice As Likely To Attempt Suicide In 2012
By Kimberly Foley. CREATED Sep 18, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep 18, 2013
Omaha, NE -- On Wednesday, an alarming report was released about Douglas County teenagers and suicide rates.
For the first time since the 90s, the county health department conducted a teen risk survey. It asked about everything from drugs and alcohol to mental health.
It was conducted in 2012.
For the most part, local teens were near or slightly better than the national average, with the exception of suicide.
"It was very hard," said parent Jason Rosso. "It was very hard to watch, and the end result was even worse."
It was Nov. 8, 2012 when Rosso's life changed forever. His daughter Lauren, 16, committed suicide.
He said Lauren battled mental illness and was in and out of hospitals since she was 12.
"She was diagnosed with depression, as bipolar," said Rosso. "Whatever there was, she basically had it. It was just uphill."
It was an uphill battle Rosso wasn't fighting alone.
In the new 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey released by the county, a startling 12.4% of the 1,087 students surveyed had attempted suicide in past 12 months.
Of those, 6.1% needed medical attention for the attempt.
13.6% of students surveyed had seriously considered suicide, and 11.5% had a plan as to how they would take their own life.
In 2012, local students were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as teens in Nebraska and in the U.S.
"Year after year, suicide claims virtually the same number of lives as homicides in Douglas County," said Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson. "Those deaths are far more preventable. I ask everyone in the community to join me in addressing the silent killer."
That mission begins with an open and honest conversation. It's something Rosso said will help save lives.
"We need to get the numbers down," he said. "I'd like to see a world with no suicide. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."
The Out of the Darkness Walk was held on Sept. 15th.
It is events like that county officials want to start organizing more of in order to get a conversation going about how to prevent future tragedies.