Conversation around youth mental health continues after Ashland HS suicide

MEDFORD, Ore. – Ashland High School is mourning the loss of a student, who last week, died by suicide.

Last Friday, the school said, it learned of their tragic passing.

Sadly, this once again brings up the discussion of teen mental health in our community.

It’s grown more important over the last couple of years.

“I think it’s crucial that we keep the conversation going about mental health,” author and mental health advocate Andrea Berryman Childreth said.

The community in Ashland continues to feel the impact of that loss.

And Ashland high is far from alone in that respect.

“Over 175,000 had suicidal thoughts at some point,” Senator Jeff Merkley said. “People are hurting, need help creating people discussion, creating a public link to help all is important.”

Merkley participated in an “In This Together” campaign meeting Thursday, reiterating the importance of helping those who have suicidal thoughts.

NBC5’s In This Together was created to end the stigma about mental health to allow people to be open about their struggles.

Childreth, who wrote a book on youth mental health called “On the Edge,” said the campaign has been making a difference.

“I think it’s brought it into the forefront in our community,” she said. Which I think is really important and made the communication message that it’s okay to talk about mental health. It’s okay to reach out if you’re struggling.”

A new report published online in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” said nearly one in 10 Americans now suffer with mental health issues.

The fastest growth rate of depression is now among teens and young adults.

Berryman Childreth is hosting a parent discussion Saturday, to focus on ideas and solutions to manage the challenges of mental health.

Her goal is not only to have parents start a conversation with their kids about mental health, but to get teens involved in the discussion it as well.

“We should empower kids to help mitigate the challenges to create solutions,” she said. “And those kids, they have ideas around it that were really powerful and meaningful that helped them navigate.”

Berryman Childreth said anyone can attend the discussion on Saturday.

It will start at 9:30 a.m. and is located at Sacred Heart Church in Medford.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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