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Crisis help available at high school

Posted: 7:26 PM, Feb 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-13 22:36:36-05
Counselors comfort parents, students in Glendale

Following Friday’s murder-suicide at Independence High School in Glendale, there will be grief counseling on the campus Saturday and next week.

But for any teen struggling or looking for someone to talk to, help is always available. 

RELATED: How to help a teen dealing with tragedy

Glendale Unified School district officials say they will continue to have counselors on campus as long as students and staff need it. 

School district spokesperson Kim Mesquita says the district has scheduled special Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Teen Lifeline also has several teen volunteers on hand to talk with other teens. Clinical Director Nikki Kontz says they had to bring in extra volunteers Friday, after the shooting at school.

“It breaks my heart to know that kids feel alone,” said Kontz.

Kontz said whenever tragedy strikes in the community, they are ready to talk to anyone who may need their help. And calls came pouring in after the news broke.

“I think there is a lot of sadness and a lot of confusion,” said Kontz.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for middle and high school students in Arizona. And sometimes certain tragedies can really serve as a wakeup call to parents.

“Start that open conversation early and in a way that allows them to open up to you,” said Kontz. “You need to truly listen to what their feelings are.”

As social media is a big part of daily life, it's crucial for parents to monitor their children and look for red flags or calls for help.

“It’s really important for people to know what to look for and reach back out and ask,” said Kontz.

Experts say there are ways to tell if a student is having difficulty dealing with emotional trauma. 

Depression, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, withdraw from activities, and emotional outbursts are all signs of trauma. 

The hotline is also available for parents who may not know how to talk to their kids or who may be looking for advice. 

Grief counselor Mary Reinhart says the best way to cope is to avoid isolation, exercise, and try to get back to a normal routine. 

Crisis Response Network has a dedicated hotline at 1-800-203-2273. 

Teen Lifeline is available at 1-602-248-8337