Parent who lost son to suicide reacts to suggested suicide screening for teens

Parent who lost son to suicide reacts to suggested suicide screening for teens
Parent who lost son to suicide reacts to suggested suicide screening for teens
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:16-04

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a report with guidelines for family doctors to screen teens for suicide risks.

This comes after new information shows suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens ages 15 to 19, according to the report.

The report states primary care pediatricians should be comfortable screening patients for suicide, mood disorder and substance abuse and dependence. The risk factors for suicide include, history of sexual abuse, parental mental health problems and family history of suicide attempts. Social and environmental risk factors, include, bullying, impaired parent-child relationship and social isolation.

One of the methods doctors could use include interviewing teens separately from the parent. In addition, doctors are also advised to parents and others, as appropriate.

Kevin Childers, a Fairfield High School teacher, football coach and parent, lost his son 15-year-old son Jonathan to suicide in 2013.

"He was well-liked. He had friends. He participated in athletics [and] he participated in Future Farmers of America," Childers said."He did the normal things a high school kid does at that age and one night on August 13th, we woke up to a very bad situation."

He said the American Academy of Pediatrics is in the right track with the screening and anticipates the program being good.

"I just hope they're able to come up with a screening that's going to help them see there is a problem, even if the child is trying to cover up a problem,” Childers said.

He said it’s positive to have an organization trying to raise awareness from a prevention standpoint.

"The more people that are raising the awareness over youth suicide, the better we are because we've had a society that when you talk about suicide, especially youth suicide, it's been an ostrich mentality, where we're going to stick our head in the sand," Childers said. "It's becoming so prevalent in our society, we can't stick our head in the sand anymore."

Childers helped spearhead the Jason Flatt Act, a legislation for suicide prevention in memory of his son that went into effect on 2015. It requires Texas public schools to give new teachers suicide prevention training.

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