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Teen's Death Puts Focus on Suicide Prevention

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MANKATO, Minn. -

Police say 16–year–old William Wild, who was reported missing by family members, was found dead Monday night in Riverfront Park.

Police say he died as a result of a self–inflected injury.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth in Minnesota and the number of teens committing suicide or having suicidal thoughts has been on the rise for the past decade.

It's a serious problem that Clinical Psychologist Dr. Darcie Jacobs says shouldn't be overlooked.

Jacobs says, "Not ignoring it or thinking the adolescent is just looking for attention, really paying attention to what their feelings are, and what they are expressing and then seeking out intervention."

She says psychologists, psychiatrists, school social workers and counselors are all good resources.

Jacobs says, "Just reaching out and getting help, because the help is out there."

Most suicides are associated with diagnosable and treatable mental illness and/or alcohol and substance abuse.

Risk factors to look out for include changes in mood or behavior...

Jacobs says, "Somebody who just doesn't seem like themselves, has maybe been talking about death more or who seems to have lost hope, loss of hope is a really important factor."

According to a 2007 state student survey, 25 percent of Minnesota's 9th grade students in public schools reported that they had thought about killing themselves at some time in their lives.

For females in Mankato, that number is higher.

Jacobs says, "I think that is why Mankato and the professionals in this community, the school district, mental health professional, medical professionals have all taken that seriously."

Since that 2007 survey, they set up a community coalition to help address the problem, and educate the community on how to help.

Jacobs says the biggest thing to remember is if you think someone may have a problem, ask them, and if you need help yourself, don't be afraid to ask for it.

Jacobs says, "Don't stay quiet, ask them, talk to them about it and its really important not to say silent about something like this."

She says it may a difficult conversation, but losing a loved one is much more difficult.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–TALK(8255).