DEAR ABBY: A boy in the grade below me killed himself. I didn't know him very well. He was a 10th-grader and we spoke in passing.
I realize no words in this world can explain a tragedy like this. I can't get past it because I know so many teens think of suicide at one time or another. Is the teen suicide rate higher than ever?
What options are there for teens to avoid getting to this point? Talking to a trusted adult won't work if a young person can't find an adult to trust. What more can kids do when they or a close friend are considering suicide? Please help us out, Abby. I'm afraid my generation is killing itself - - literally. -- SOON-TO-BE SENIOR IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR SOON-TO-BE SENIOR: I'm sorry for the tragic loss of your schoolmate. While it may seem that the suicide rate today is higher than years ago, my experts tell me that this is not the case. What has increased is the degree to which it has been publicized in the media.
If a contemporary should confide in you that he or she is considering suicide, tell that person that you care and are concerned. Under no circumstances should you keep what was said a secret. Tell your parents, a teacher or a school counselor, who can see that your friend gets help. If you feel there is no adult you can trust, then pick up the phone and call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be saving a life if you do.