SATURDAY: Mostly sunny, hot and humid. High: 94. Heat indices between ...more »
Help For Kids, Parents After Student Suicide
The community of Riverton is reeling after an eighth grader at Riverton Middle School takes his own life.
The school district said they found out the tragic news Wednesday night and quickly assembled grief counselors to help students Thursday.
"This is indicative of a problem that we have seen trending upwards for some time now," Springfield Urban League Special Assistant Howard Peters said.
Peters said a community assessment by the Springfield Urban League found more young people in the area are in need of mental health care. Meanwhile, in the past few years, several young students in the area have committed suicide, leaving loved ones to wonder why.
"There's a lot of what-ifs," Dr. William Moredock, Sacred Heard Griffin Director of Student and Family Services, said. "Kids this age, especially in that classroom, are going to say, 'What if I called him or her yesterday, what if I'd been nicer to them.'"
Moredock said the reasons for suicide are usually much deeper and more complex than that.
"It is important for them to know that it's not their fault," Moredock said.
And to know there are people in the community to help with grief. Plus, resources for others who may be struck with the feeling they cannot go on.
"Many of the services are free of charge through Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois and certainly through the MOSAIC Project," which the Springfield Urban League partners with, Peters said.
Many of the services also concentrate on bullying and how it may be a major hurdle, but one you can jump over.
"These are issues that we as maybe young adults and certainly our parents never really had to deal with in the kind of complexity and intensity that our students and our children are today," Peters said.
The school district has not said whether bullying was a factor in this student's death, but it is a problem in districts throughout our area.
Officials are urging parents to talk to their children about bullying, about how this epidemic is real and about how there are places they can go for help.
Donations to help cover funeral costs of the student who died can be made at the Illinois National Bank in Riverton.