Federal Grants to Help Prevent Suicide - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Federal Grants to Help Prevent Suicide

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- The youth suicide rate in Washington State continues to be well over the national average. But some new grants are aimed at saving some of those lives.

The new 1.2 million dollar federal grant aims to bring down a statewide youth suicide rate that is 10 percent above the national average.

At Lourdes Counseling Center in Richland, they see young people all the time that are depressed and facing suicide. Doctor Benjamin Pe says the pressures each person faces are different. He says they family, academic, or environmental pressures can drive them to depression and then suicide.

He says that he's not exactly sure why kids in Washington tend to turn to suicide more. There is not one hard and fast reason. He says it requires more study and a look into whether we have enough mental healthcare services for people that need them.

But he says there are certain characteristics among young people that tend to lead to depression and suicide attempts. They may have just broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend or had a stressful situation in their family.

The new federal grants will look to help some of these at-risk kids by funding local colleges and community agencies. The goal is to reduce the isolation that young people feel, in hopes that they can turn their lives around.