Local News

September is Suicide Prevention Month and a local mental health expert says there are some alarming trends in our communities' youth.


Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and recently told Regional Radio News there are some alarming trends in regards to local youth and suicidal thoughts. Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Kirman indicated an every-other-year survey of local youth indicated there was a spike in kids that had suicidal thoughts and stressed these statistics were pre-COVID.



According to Kirkman, over 20-percent of the tenth and twelfth-grade students surveyed reported depression symptoms. Additionally, Kirkman is very concerned about the discovery of students that have had suicidal thoughts.



Kirkman believes part of the reason our youth are becoming depressed and contemplating suicide is because of the continuous nature of exposure to the news cycle and feeling trapped in their circumstances.



Kirkman points out suicide rates in kids and young adults have jumped over 50-percent with the national suicided rate being 14 per 100,000. He notes that would equate to roughly two successful death by suicide in DeWitt and Piatt County.


He encourages people to talk about this more and focus on mental wellness and to not stigmatize mental health issues. 

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