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Alex Cabrero ReportingSuicide is a subject we don't like to talk about, even more so when it involves children. But grief counselors, parents, and police in Pleasant Grove are trying to figure out why a 10-year old boy took his own life yesterday.
We can only imagine what the boys parents are going through tonight. But whatever it is, a support group says the parents shouldn't beat themselves up over it. Sure, there are lots of questions, but sometimes there are no answers.
Students learn all sorts of things at Manila Elementary School in Pleasant Grove. One thing not in the curriculum, though, is death.
Chris Tucker, Counselor: “It makes me really sad to think a 10-year old resorted to suicide.”
Chris Tucker doesn't work at the school, but he is a counselor specializing in helping children with grief. Now his thoughts are with the boy’s parents.
Chris Tucker: "We always think there's something we could've done or said, something we could've noticed but didn't, and that's something that's normal with a loss."
David Jenkins: “You have to go on and support yourselves.”
David Jenkins had the same questions. A few years ago his son committed suicide.
David Jenkins, Provo Resident: “You say, how do you go on? Well, what choice do you have? You have to go on. You put on your game face and go to work.”
He and his wife got help from "Heart and Soul Survivors”, a Utah County based support group dealing with suicide. Now they're helping others.
David Jenkins: “Unfortunately we have new ones all the time.”
Sad but true. From 1999 to 2003 there were 897 hospitalized suicide attempts per year in Utah. The 15-19 year old age group was the highest at 16-percent. In that same time, children ages 5-14, 22 of them attempted suicide, five died.
The number skyrockets with children ages 15-19, 146 attempts and 27 deaths. It is the second leading cause of death in Utah for males ages 14-24.
David Jenkins: “Unfortunately, with suicide, there’s still a lot of stigma attached to a death from suicide.”
Utah is ranked 11th in the nation for suicides based on population percentages. We've been as high as 6th. But a 10-year old is very rare.
Heart and Soul Survivors
Utah County Crisis Line
Wasatch Mental Health