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Teen Suicide 3rd Leading Cause of Death in State
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Patti Herrington Speaking at Suicide Prevention Conference
Desare Frazier

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens in Mississippi. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, a state agency is raising awareness about the warning signs and prevention.

"As a survivor I feel the need to challenge the stigma of suicide," said Mosley.

That's Teresa Mosley who's here to dispel the stigma attached to mental illness, so people will seek help.  She's a board member with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. She found her daughter Elizabeth hanging in her closet 11-years ago.  Mosley says the 15-year old struggled with extreme anxiety and depression. She says Elizabeth received counseling and medication. Mosley lists some of the warning signs.  

"Their grades start to plummet. Their eating patterns change. Their sleeping patterns change. If all of a sudden they're really really happy when they've been sad," said Mosley

Mosley says if they start giving away prized possessions that's another sign. Educators, social workers, and mental health staff are among those in Jackson, for a suicide prevention conference. The state department of mental health reports suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among Mississippi teens. Patti Herrington talks to listeners about the excruciating grief that began when she found her 17-year old son dead. She says Connor suffered from depression and was bullied. Herrington founded a ministry called "Firefly Outreach."  She now goes to schools across the state talking to young people about her experience, as part of the campaign "Mississippi Lives Matter."

"I have kids that come up to me all the time. Just so many young kids that tell me that they were suicidal that it made such an impact on their lives. It emails. I get calls from parent," said Herrington. 

Experts say technology can lead to isolation, which isn't healthy for young people or families. Bullying in school and online can cause feelings of hopelessness. The state department of mental health says information and resources are available at: