Expert: Suicide Can Be Contagious Among Teens

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The suicides of two 14-year-old girls in Marshall over the weekend have become the second incident of teen suicide in Minnesota in recent weeks.

Earlier in April, 15-year-old Halee Lucas and 18-year-old Zach Jones, both of the New London-Spicer area, took their lives.

With all of the media exposure and attention paid to the deceased, experts warn that suicide may become contagious among young people.

“Suicide contagion does happen,” said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), who is advising the Marshall School District on how to deal with its incident.

“It is a real factor; it is especially common amongst youth,”  Reidenberg said.

He said that it is not recommend that communities hold memorials for people who commit suicide. The reason for this is that those who might be at the risk of attempting suicide may misinterpret the memorials as chance at immortality, not grasping the finality of killing themselves.

“They don’t often realize that [suicide] is a permanent solution to a very temporary problem,” Reidenberg said.

He also said 90 percent of the people who kill themselves suffer from a mental illness and that is why understanding the warning signs of suicide is so important.

To watch WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy interview Reidenberg, click the link below.

Web Extra: Doctor Talks About Teen Suicide

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