TOPEKA. Kan. (KSNT) – Teachers and friends of a Topeka High School student are mourning her death, after she died of an apparent suicide on Saturday.
On that same day, a suicidal high school student in Overland Park died in a police shooting.
Destiny Ruff and Gabriella Soler were classmates with the Topeka student. They said it’s hard to be a teen in a social media saturated world.
“It’s difficult to be yourself nowadays,” said Soler
“Yeah, or to talk to anyone, because you know you don’t feel safe,” said Ruff. “You feel like everyone’s going to judge you.”
A local therapist said today’s environment makes it difficult for teens to develop a sense of identity.
“It is extremely difficult to be a teenager today,” said Tara Wallace, with the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition. “There are so many things that influence the world.”
Wallace said parents should not be afraid to talk with their children about those issues and the problem of suicide.
“The myth is that talking about suicide is what leads individuals to commit suicide,” said Wallace. “And that’s not the case at all. “
She said the most fundamental thing parents can do to keep their children from struggling with their sense of self and purpose is to ask about their day.
“Did anything interesting happen? Did anything different, good or bad? And that starts that dialog because kids need to know that their parents are interested and they care. And they’re wanting to know what’s happening with them,” said Wallace.
Ruff and Soler offer this advice to other teens as well: “Don’t feel like you’re alone. Get help, because you don’t want to take away your life.”
The Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition has resources available to parents. Click here for more information about support groups, training and more.