AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — There is some alarming and heartbreaking news from Aurora: Over the last six days, seven children have attempted suicide.
Kids as young as 8 years old tried to end their lives.
“In Aurora alone in the past six days, we’ve had seven juveniles between ages of 8 to 16 attempt suicide. That’s an alarming number. They might be feeling isolation, alienation, some may be victims of crimes. There’s a lot of helplessness and hopelessness they might be feeling right now. We want to get the message out to parents right now it’s really important to understand our kids have been through a lot and it’s important for us to check in with them,” said Aurora Public Information Officer Crystal McCoy.
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman shared the news on Twitter:
The Aurora Police Department has a crisis response team that responds to these types of calls for help.
“We have a lot of resources for parents and children, resources start in schools, faith-based leaders, safe to tell has a lot of information to help parents through these conversations. It’s good for parents to recognize it’s as young as seven you can be having these conversations, there’s a way to do it age appropriately through the resources or mental health professionals.
Studies have shown even if a child has one trusted adult in their life that can reduce an attempt of suicide or worse. So sometimes that trusted adult is the parents, sometimes that is a counselor, sometimes that’s a police officer or a coach. Regardless of who that person is, it is important they have that person in their life and they are checking in on those kids,” McCoy said.
May is mental health awareness month. According to Children’s Hospital Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death for kids ages 10-14, but community leaders want kids and parents to know there is help available.
Mental Health Colorado is the state’s leading advocate for promoting mental well-being. The group says there are no easy answers, but open conversations are a good place to start.
“Changes in behavior, being more withdrawn, giving things away, making off-handed remarks or indications of self-harming behaviors: These are all things worth asking about. What we understand to be the case is talking about risk, talking about harm to self, asking if there are any indicators, off-handed remarks made, not shrugging that off. Making it a heartful inquiry into how are you? You said this, are you really thinking of harming yourself. Being very direct. That is thought to be good practice in prevention, rather than letting them find out by themselves through movies, music or friends.
Make sure they know how loved they are, make sure they know you’re not going to go through life without extremely distressing times, times when you feel like all is going to nothing and hit rock bottom. What we need to understand (is) it passes, and we are here for each other. Those hard times, you come back out of those,” said Vincent Achity, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado.
Mental Health Colorado is currently working to ensure the new national 988 suicide prevention hotline is up and running in Colorado by July of next year.
“We are very hopeful this will be a lifesaving innovation because it will be a 3-digit number like 911 children will be able to remember, and they will recognize it is a health-related crisis and they will get a health care response,” Achity said.
The current Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. It is answered 24/7 and provides free and confidential support for people in need.
Finally, the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health is available. Coloradans can call 1-844-493-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 38255. They can also visit coloradocrisisservices.org.