A community forum in Joplin is putting the focus on teen suicide.
Sadly, it's an issue that has become all too common in the news in recent months.
Two Joplin High School students have taken their own lives since the beginning of December. There has also been a total of four suicides in Joplin and Carthage since the beginning of the school year.
Tonight's forum was organized by Southern Lights Counseling, and focused on discussing the causes of teen suicide and coming up with possible solutions.
Gail Roberson, Director of Southern Lights Counseling, says that the solution to the issue is complex because suicide is a complex issue.
She said," We have asked why of professionals tonight, we have asked why of family tonight, we have asked why of peers tonight, of the school personnel tonight, and what we are coming up with is it is complex, and there is no one answer. But we are looking for solutions. That's where we need to focus."
Roberson adds that even though the issue is complex, there are signs that can serve as warnings to thoughts of suicide, such as depression and other mental health disorders, and giving away personal possessions.
Wesley Garrett, a senior at Joplin High School, says that losing peers always has an impact on all of the students at JHS. He says that is why suicide is an issue that he cares about.
"This is a really heavy subject to talk about, but also one that's important to me."
He adds that getting more people involved in increasing awareness can help save lives.
He said, "I think if we get more people involved with this it can help save more lives and hopefully let others know that we are here for you. Don't think that it's all over because it's not."
Southern Lights Counseling serves all of southwest Missouri.
More information can be found on their website: http://www.southernlightcounseling.net/.