MEDFORD, Ore.-- Jackson County has the second highest youth suicide rate in Oregon.
Last year, Jackson County lost 54 lives to suicide-- two of those people were students in the Medford School District.
This year the Medford School District has invested 250,000 dollars for more mental health services for students.
Parent academy is a new program.
It’s a series of education sessions for parents, covering different topics.
Parents came to the Medford School District auditorium Thursday night to learn about youth suicide prevention.
Crisis Prevention Specialist Jill Jeter says, "Suicide and depression, it is not cookie cutter, it is not a box, it does not look the same for every student or every family."
Jill Jeter, who is the Medford School District's Crisis Prevention Specialist, explained to parents the importance of having an open educated conversation with their kids about if they're having suicidal thoughts.
Jill Jeter says, "People want to have education, they want knowledge and they want to know how to have a conversation but it's not a comfortable topic."
The Medford School District has increased resources specifically to help students dealing with depression.
Jill Jeter says, "Last year we had 4 counselors, this year we have 7, we're piloting a teletherapy program, and I'm the first position in the valley specifically to focus on suicide prevention in the valley."
Parents also heard from a survivor of suicide-- who lost her daughter almost two years ago.
She says she's sharing her story because she wants parents to know a suicidal person doesn't always fit a stereotype.
Susan Holt says, "She had depression but nobody knew she was depressed. She had a lot of happiness and joy in her life so her depression was intermittent, she didn't talk to people about it and hid it well. Looking back, I wish I would have just listened, asked more questions, I thought my job was to help and fix. If I could go back I'd listen a lot better."
The presentation also provided parents with several resources for kids including a 24-hour crisis line and 24/7 text service with Jackson County Mental Health.
For resources to help your child, click here.
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