Study: 1 in 6 Sarasota County kids contemplated suicide

SCOPE forming Community Youth Plan

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Troubling new numbers show one in six Sarasota students have created a plan to commit suicide in the past year.

One mother says her son finds a lot of stress at school.

"There's a lot of bullying and stuff like that in the schools," said Jennifer Edwards, who lives in Sarasota County. "I think that affects his grades."

She also knows about drug use in her son's school and in the homes of his fellow students.

"I'm constantly torn between just letting him roam free basically and just wanting to protect him," Edwards said.

Sarasota County and SCOPE, an area non-profit recently conducted a survey to learn more about area kids.

They found one in six high school students have created a plan to commit suicide in the past year.

"This is the result of stress, bullying, pressures or other issues out there," said John McCarthy, executive director of SCOPE.

They also discovered 30 youth per month are removed from their homes due to parental substance abuse or other neglect. They also learned 18 percent of youth are not graduating from high school, 900 school aged youth are homeless and 18 percent of children are living in poverty.

"For Sarasota, I would call it a silent crisis," McCarthy said.

SCOPE says most people would be shocked to know so many children are struggling.

"The vast majority of our community is not aware that our youth are having so much stress," McCarthy said.

Now, SCOPE is helping for a community youth plan, designed to get kids access to more community resources and services.

In the meantime, some parents are working to make sure they're in tune with their kids.

"You have to find that fine line of what's appropriate for him to know and what to fill him in on before he finds out for himself," Edwards said.

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