Menasha (WFRV) -- One group of local kids is taking on a tough cause, teen suicide. Taking it upon themselves to save lives.
Katie Gloede is only 16 years old, but her young life has been turned upside down twice, by people she loves either taking their own life or attempting to.
Now she's fighting back, and getting help from friends..
Katie, Breyton Batterman, Alex Hipp and Geoff Pritzl are working on what could be a life saving project.
Two months ago, Katie noticed Breyton was depressed and thinking about suicide.
"Sleeping more, changing, not hanging around with the same people. He showed signs and mentioned it once or twice." Said Katie
Katie was right. "Just really depreseed. I was going to jump in the river over by where the ball drops on New Years." Said Breyton.
Katie wasn't going to let that happen. "I talked to my guidance counselor. She talked to his parents." Said Katie.
Breyton's parents got him the help he needed. Katie's actions took a lot of guts.
"I was really mad at her. I didn't talk to her for a month." said Breyton.
Katie shot back. "I'd rather have him mad at me than dead."
Katie knew the warning signs of suicide because when she was in fifth grade, her brother's friend lost her battle with depression and took her own life. The young Katie was devastated.
Katie believes many teens don't understand the clues someone suicidal may be giving them. Which is why she wants to raise money to host a suicide prevention speaker at schools in the Fox Valley.
But that costs money. So Katie formed the group Learn 2 Fly. They have been selling suicide awareness bracelets and T-shirts.
But their biggest project is putting together a Learn 2 Fly spread your wings fund raiser at Waverly Beach in Menasha. The event includes music, food and a suicide awareness speaker.
Breyton is glad Katie intervened and he's looking forward to a bright future.
The Learn 2 Fly: Spread Your Wings Event is Saturday, February 23. At Waverly Beach in Menasha. It runs from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.pm.
Check Learn 2 Fly's Facebook page here.
According to the American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry:
Parents should be aware of the following signs of adolescents who may try to kill themselves:
- change in eating and sleeping habits
- withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
- violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away
- drug and alcohol use
- unusual neglect of personal appearance
- marked personality change
- persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
- frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- not tolerating praise or rewards
A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also:
- complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside
- give verbal hints with statements such as: I won't be a problem for you much longer, Nothing matters, It's no use, and I won't see you again
- put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc.
- become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
- have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts)
If a child or adolescent says, I want to kill myself, or I'm going to commit suicide, always take the statement seriously and immediately seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than putting thoughts in the child's head, such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.
If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional help from a physician or a qualified mental health professional. With support from family and appropriate treatment, children and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a more healthy path of development.