What teen suicidal symptoms parents should look for - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What teen suicidal symptoms parents should look for

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SUNNYSIDE, WA - The issue of suicide is a tough topic for anyone to talk about, but it's even harder for parents with their teenagers.

"It affects all ages, all races," said Dr. Pedro Fernandez, psychiatrist with Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics. "It's a big issue any way that you present it."

In Washington state, suicide is the leading cause of death for kids just 10 to 14 years old. It's the second cause of death for teens 15 to 19. Warning signs include mood swings, isolation, and changes in sleeping and eating habits.

"Take this seriously," Dr. Fernandez said. "Seek help. Talking about it, it will not promote suicides."

The controversial Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has seen backlash across the country. Many believe the show glamorizes suicide, but some experts say parents should watch the show with their kids.

"This girl really portrays what it's like to be a teenager, what it's like to be in high school and the bullying that goes on there," said Jenny Decker, clinical social worker with Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics.

Parents need to be involved as much as they can in their kids' lives.

"If you are a parent and you get a note, a call from someone in school, listen to them and get help," said Dr. Fernandez. 

"Know who your kids are hanging out with," Decker said. "Make your home available for kids to hang out at your house."

"There is something simple every parent can do that could avoid the tragedy of their son or daughter taking their own life.

"If your kid's depressed, don't just brush it off. Get them to even just their family health provider," Decker said. "Have them assessed there and then from there they can be referred out."

If you know anyone who needs help, or if you're the one who wants someone to talk to, there are people who can help at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Their number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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