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Suicide Prevention Week: Teens helping teens

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - As suicide prevention week comes to an end, Teen Lifeline wants other teens to know they are not alone.

When calling in, they'll always have someone to talk to.

Teen Lifeline, created over 30 years ago to prevent teen suicide in Arizona. Nikki Kontz, clinical director of Teen Lifeline, says when the initiative first began, Arizona was the 2nd highest in the nation for suicides.

The crisis hotline is specifically for teens, and from 12 pm to 9 pm, answered by other teens to talk on the different emotions they're feeling.

Kontz says in the summer months they usually see a decrease in calls, however this summer, because of the pandemic, for the first time, the company saw an increase in calls.

As for statistics on whether during the pandemic there's been an increase of suicide rates in children, Kontz says their statistics are based on what comes out of the medical examiner's office. Due to COVID-19, they are currently backed up at least six months.

Teen Lifeline has worked with over 200 schools across Arizona to bring suicide awareness and training. In a few schools in Yuma County, Kontz says students can find contact information on the back of these school ID's if students ever need someone to talk to.

Last September, Governor Doug Ducey signed the Mitch Warnock Act, which requires school districts and charter schools to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to school guidance counselors, teachers, principals and other school personnel who work with students in grades 6 through 12.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez began at KYMA as a Digital Content Producer in June 2019, and is now a multimedia journalist.

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