(Republic, Mo.--01/10/18) Local school districts are encouraging parents and children to talk about suicide, even if it's uncomfortable.
Suicide among teens is on the rise and administrators at Republic Public Schools are shedding light and trying to help their students heal.
"It’s very somber. Unfortunately we’ve had to many of these experiences in the past. It’s never easy no matter what the circumstances are and the kids feel that," explains Tyler Overstreet, Principal at Republic High School.
There’s a much different mood inside Republic High School. This week, the school community received the news that a student ‘s life was taken by suicide.
"It impacts so many different people no matter what the reason is cause the relationships that are built. So everybody kind of feels the weight of that loss because of how connected students are."
Overstreet says the district has implemented a protocol developed several years ago to deal with such a tragedy.
"We have resources that teachers have been trained to use that are shared with them that they can go through and see indicators in students as to what type of behaviors might be something going beneath the surface."
In 2016, more than 70 Missouri teens killed themselves, the most on record, according to a star analysis of state data.
"While this is an unfortunate circumstance, we are trying to use it as a learning opportunity as we move to forward to see what we can do more proactively with what we already do for staff and students."
Although Republic Public Schools has a protocol in place, a new Missouri law will require all schools to have strategies written for next school year to prevent suicides. While no one is quite sure how to solve the issue, Overtreet says people should not turn a blind eye to a cry for help.
"It’s extremely important to report that way the proper support systems can come and fall into place."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)