Two student suicides at Douglas County High School; Parents asked to talk to their kids

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - Students at Douglas County High School are dealing with the suicides of two of their classmates in nine days.

A junior girl took her life on January 31. Then, a senior took his life over the weekend, according to letters sent to parents by Douglas County High School principal Tony Kappas.

Students were provided the opportunity to talk to teachers, mental health staff and administrators yesterday and last Monday when the news was announced, Kappas said.

"The district crisis team was also here to support our students as well.," Kappas said in his letter to parents.

Kappas asked parents to talk to their students about the tragedy and said the district will offer a workshop for parents next month.

"If your student is struggling, please contact us at 303-387-1084" Kappas said.

The letter also reminded parents about the warning signs of suicide:

- Talking about suicide plans

- Plans are made or attempts to secure the means for suicide.

- Scratching or cutting or marking the body

- Increased risk-taking behaviors (running away, driving recklessly, etc.)

- Alcohol or drug use

- Neglect of appearance

- Marked personality or behavior change 

- Persistent boredom, inability to concentrate

- Decline of quality of school work

- Verbal hints, “I won't be here much longer.”

- Giving away possessions

- Becoming suddenly very cheerful after a period of prolonged depression

There is more information about suicide prevention, grief and loss on the school's website: http://www1.dcsdk12.org/secondary/dchs/index.php?pagenum=216132

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