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East Valley sees spike in suicides among students

Valley nonprofit notMYkid said the East Valley is seeing a “point cluster” of suicides following two in May.

Jordana Montanyo with notMYkid told KTAR News 35 students have taken their own lives over a 22-month period.

“Once there is an incident of suicide then the likelihood to see another one does increase,” Montanyo said. “Over the past two school years, we’ve seen that happen over and over.”

Scottsdale-based nonprofit, notMYkid focuses on helping parents and teens with mental health issues such as depression, attempted self-injury or suicide.

According to notMYkid, Arizona’s suicide mortality rate of 18 per 100,000 people is higher than the country’s rate of 14 per 100,000.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Arizonan’s ages 20 to 44.

Montanyo said May and June are two of the most common times for teens to consider taking their own lives.

“You know we just ended the school year and when students are looking back on things that did or did not happen or what college is going to look like or just what life looks like, you start to see these changes in their behavior,” she said.

Montanyo said parents should look for changes in mood, interests and decisions.

“It’s just really important that these adults around these youths have conversations — meaningful conversations — where they’re listening and asking questions that may give them clues as to what’s happening in their lives,” she said.

Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call Teen Lifeline at 800-248-8336 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.

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