In response to several teen suicides in Kirkland over the last year or more, the service agency Youth Eastside Services (YES) has scheduled a forum for parents at on July 25 to help prevent such tragedies.
In June, a Kirkland Junior High school student committed suicide, and Patch posted a story about it after receiving reports of police activity in the Highlands neighborhood, and the next day a letter from the school to parents. Patch subsequently received unconfirmed reports of two previous suicides by students of during the 2011-12 school year, and of two teen suicides the year before.
Monica Elenbaas, director of Fund Development and Community Relations for YES, which operates two counseling locations for youth in Kirkland, said the city had encouraged the agency to begin a conversation with parents about the issue. Although it is in response to suicides in Kirkland, parents from all communities are welcome.
“Research has shown that kids who attempt suicide are in intense emotional pain, and most just need someone to recognize and respond to that,” said Debbi Halela, director of youth and family counseling services at YES.
The forum will help parents and those who work with youth identify common signs and take steps to prevent another tragedy. It’s in the Peter Kirk Room at City Hall (123 5th Avenue) beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25.
Halela said many youth might still be working through their grief over the loss of a classmate, which sometimes leads to copycat actions. “Our goal is to shed some light on this little-talked-about issue and provide people some tools and resources in advance of the upcoming school year,” she said.
The forum is free and will last about 90 minutes, with time for questions. For more information, contact YES at 425-747-4937 or info@YouthEastsideServices.org.
Based in Bellevue, YES has been providing counseling and substance abuse treatment for youth on the Eastside since the early 1970s. For details, see the YES web site by clicking here.
Some of the information for this report came from a YES news release.