A lot of people are paying attention to teen suicide now, and for good reason. But at Youth Journalism International, we've been on it since our award-winning package in 1996.
That was the year a group of our students spent researching death records to learn how teens had died in the past 15 years in the city of Bristol, Connecticut. Once they had that information, these brave young reporters tracked down the survivors of the teens who had taken their own lives -- and asked them to talk about it.
Understandably, some didn't want to, but other parents opened up, telling heartbreaking stories of the sons and daughters they loved, and then lost to suicide.
It was a tough project for our students, and one they've never forgotten. We haven't forgotten, either. We remember the difficult interviews, the emotional experience of attending a young person's funeral, coaching our students through those moments and the really hard work they did to bring it all together.
We did it in hopes that our work would bring some comfort to those who were grieving, some information to parents who may not realize their child is in danger, and most importantly, out of a desire to stop even one teen from making that awful choice.
Today, almost 15 years later, those stories -- and the many stories that followed on suicide and depression -- are among the best work that our readers return to time and again. They're also something that helps young people find us for the first time. We remain proud of our contribution to the important discussion of teen suicide.
You can see the original package and more at this link: http://tinyurl.com/3xm566b