National Opinions

Chico Enterprise-Record: Adults can help troubled teens

Assuring a troubled young person's future can be as simple as asking questions and listening, which may help them shun suicide.

For adults, it's difficult to understand why a young person would kill himself or herself. We know that nothing could be that bad.

It appears there's a lot we don't know or understand about the mental workings of young people, and this is a good time to learn, whether or not you have a child.

Everyone and anyone can be the wall preventing a death. It's not that hard. It's about asking questions and listening, being positive and calling for help. Schools, counselors and mental health professionals have been reaching out to the community to help them understand more in the wake of two teen suicides in Chico and three in Redding since December.

A failed first love, a bad test score, a friend who's moved away or problems at home can create a hopeless feeling that could prompt a teen to consider suicide, mental health professionals say.

These incidents happen to scores of teens every day. For most, the sorrow, embarrassment or hurt is short lived. They push on.

But others can't.

The recent deaths of people with promising futures and good families has many wondering: How can this happen, and what more can we do? Experts say it takes a little listening and some action. That should be automatic in families, but we all know that the hectic pace of life sometimes sucks attention away from what's really important.

The economy isn't helping either, and may lead to further problems at home that can make matters worse.

Friends, rather than parents, are often the first to know that something's wrong. Teachers, too, become confidants.

Take the time to ask a question. Don't be afraid to inquire. It's not prying. It's not out of place. Showing you care could save a life, or at least, it could mean providing support to someone who might need it later.