COLORADO SPRINGS — The mental health crisis for kids and teens in Colorado continues.
Children’s Hospital Colorado leaders want to bring extra attention to the issue heading into September.
“We know that with the onset of school, we see an increase, a pretty significant increase in suicidal behavior, said Lauren Henry who is Psychologist with Children’s Hospital Colorado.
During the month of September a year ago the Children’s Hospital system recorded 15 to 40 kids a day showing up looking for help with mental health issues. Many of the cases dealt with attempts and thoughts about suicide
Suicide is an issue painfully close to Betty and Kevin Van Thournout of Colorado Springs. “We’re just a mother and a father who unfortunately had to deal with the suicide of a loved one,” said Kevin
Their son Ryan took his life in his 20’s. Kevin said, “Ryan was a beautiful, giving, caring young man who loved everybody. So, when he took his life it left a very big hole.
Looking back, the couple see little issues that started in his teens that one-by-one possibly contributed to the tragedy.
“The blocks kind of stack on their shoulders and it’s not just one thing, it’s the last one thing that puts them over,” said Betty.
“You never get over it,” said Ken. The couple does find some comfort in helping others dealing with the loss of someone they love to suicide. They are part of a Colorado support group called Heartbeat.
They would also prefer to prevent suicide before someone needs support. “When people die by suicide. It’s not that they want to die. It’s that they want the pain to end,” said Betty.
Children’s hospital is working to expand resources to address the mental health crisis happening among Colorado’s youth.
“Our kids are facing the same stressors as adults, but without the same competencies within their brain,” said Henry.
The hospital system has been holding a series of on-line town hall meetings and will be expanding on-line resources.
"To connect the community with how to keep kids safe. So there's going to be information on how to identify and support kids in crises,” said Henry, “And again, more importantly how to prevent mental health crisis from happening in the first place."
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