News 11 Investigative Report: A warning to parents

News 11 aired this Investigative Report on teen suicide Thursday night.

Nate and Wyatt grew up together in small town Wayne, Ohio. They've been friends for as long as they can remember.

But neither could've guessed what a difference that friendship would make. Just over a year ago, Nate hatched a plan.

"Well, my friend committed suicide, and I was going to," Nate says about his plans.

It wasn't because his friend had died. In fact, Nate has trouble pinpointing what exactly was pushing him toward a path of destruction.

"Back in 8th grade, I guess I was kind of cool, but then I had some friends that would pick on me. One of my ex-girlfriends put me through a bunch of stuff. Didn't think there was nothing else to do, so."

Suicide prevention consultant Ann Huss, part of Wood County's Suicide Prevention Coalition, says there are signs to watch for in young people.

"There are warning signs that define clinical depression," Huss says.

Look for things like changes in sleeping or eating habits. Are friends, mode of dress, taste in music changing? Are they watching more violent shows, is personal hygiene less important" Are they withdrawing from friends or family"

Nate successfully hid any signs from family. But that lifelong friendship thing? His buddy Wyatt saw Nate withdrawing and asked him about it one Wednesday night at church.

Nate would only change the subject, but late that night Wyatt wouldn't let it go.

"Just something inside of me just told me you need to call Nate because there's something wrong with him, you need to call him."

The lateness of the call, the sound of sobbing beyond a bedroom door made Nate's mom Deana suspicious and she reached for a phone.

She heard Wyatt trying to talk Nate out of suicide. She didn't sleep but also didn't know what to do.

Deana made sure Nate got on the bus the next morning. Then she e-mailed a school counselor with what had happened.

That counselor called Deana at work and said, "You need to get here."

"Nate actually had a party planned for Friday. He told her that was his going away party. That was his last time to tell everybody good bye."

Nate and Deana went to counseling and he's doing well enough to share some advice with other teens.

"I learned a lot that when something's bothering you, you should tell somebody instead of letting it build up or whatever," Nate says today.

Friends learn to talk with each other and never promise that you'll keep a suicide threat a secret.

And parents know that talking to their children opens that up that communication.

Talking about it is a good thing. It's therapeutic, and it helps children know they're not alone.

Posted by KO