String of Suicides Worry Area Residents - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Pemiscot County, MO -- Brandi Hodges Reports

String of Suicides Worry Area Residents

November 16, 2006 -- Posted at 6:40 p.m. CDT

PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO -- Since June there have been five suicides in Pemiscot County.  The first happened in June with four others following with a month.

"The first one was alarming and all of them have been, but as this is happening and we're asking, ‘Is there a trend?  Are these interconnected?' and trying to figure out the best way to deal with this and help out the students," said Hayti High School Counselor Emily Heuring.

Heuring says the students are being deeply affected by these deaths.

"We've dealt with everything from single one-on-one counseling sessions, to group counseling.  We're seeing students having problems sleeping at night and physical problems," said Heuring.

The communities of Hayti and Caruthersville are only a few miles apart and these suicides are causing a ripple of shock to go through the county.

"I grew up in this area and I can remember two suicides in 25 years, and here in just the last few months we've dealt with five just one after another," said Heuring.

Heuring said the school is offering counseling to students and most importantly a person to talk to and a shoulder to cry on.

"Don't take any attempt lightly or any comment lightly.  If a friend says anything to you that makes you think they might be contemplating suicide take that seriously," said Heuring.

The most important thing parents can do is open up the lines of communication with their children. 

"Suicide is not the answer.  You may be going through a hard time or you may have an issue going on, but that's just a temporary problem," said Heuring.

Some things to watch for are aggressive behavior, alcohol and substance abuse and whether or not they have a mental disorder.

"I don't know if there was a pact or something.  I hope there are not anymore suicides, but they were all from the same group of friends basically," said Amanda Hudgens.

Hayti Police Chief Paul Sheckell encourages that anyone with any information about a connection with these suicides give his office a call at 573-359-1259.

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