Local school district tackling teen suicide with phone number on student ID cards

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 07:51:48-04

"You don't know if you’re going to make it in time," said Melissa Coble.”The fear can paralyze you."


Every minute of every day, a teen considers taking their own life. Melissa Coble says three years ago, it was her teen, Tyler, then a junior in high school.


"I think he had dealt with depression and anxiety off and on for a long time," said Coble.  


But she says Tyler’s moods began to fluctuate rapidly, the normally happy kid, now angry. The anxiety far beyond the normal teenage angst.


"Until finally one day he said yes, I've been thinking of killing myself mom," said Coble who didn't panic but took the challenge head on. 


However too many times, these conversations come too late. Beginning this year, the Tempe Union High School District is taking the steps to make sure it doesn't. 


Just as they do every year, students will receive a school ID. Beginning this year, however, students pictures will be on the front while the Teen Lifeline suicide hotline number will be found on the back.


"Every student is going to have it, they're not going to have to ask anyone for it," said District Community Relations Director Jennifer Liewer.


The district says that's the point, the new student ID's eliminate the stigma, and start a dialogue.


"So often a student may find themselves in a situation feeling alone when nobody else is there,” said Liewer. “So they're going to be able to know that that phone number will connect them to somebody,"


53 Valley schools have adopted the idea so far. Giving mothers like Melissa Coble faith that the future will be full of life.


"Give them whatever resource they can, make it as easy as possible, make it as normal as possible," said Coble.