ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – There has been at least two reports within the past few days of adolescents in the Big Country attempting to take their lives, and one administrator over an Abilene mental health facility says we are in the midst of a crisis affecting people of all ages, but mainly young people.
Lauren Hardin told KTAB/KRBC she drove up on a car wreck Thursday, April 20, she did not expect to encounter, “We saw a person – a young man – laying on the ground… He was hit by a car.”
The young man had told her he wanted to take his own life, as according to Hardin. The woman who allegedly hit him with her car made a Facebook post, suggesting the same.
“As a mom, that’s not something you ever want to experience,” said Hardin.
Just a few days later, another boy at Roscoe Collegiate High School attempted to take his life, as well. These incidents led Hardin to say more people are needing help in the Big Country.
“There are not enough resources in town,” urged Hardin. “There are so many young people struggling and just not getting the help that they need.”
Administrator of Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Abilene and the Permian Basin, Stacey Sanford, told KTAB/KRBC they have seen an increase over the past few years of patients coming in, now averaging about 200-300 admissions per month. Out of those patients, she said 60% of them have either had thoughts of taking their lives or have attempted to do so.
“We are seeing sicker patients, we are seeing more suicide attempts, more suicidal thoughts,” Sanford listed.
The patients they have seen an increase in the most is adolescents. Adolescence can be between the ages of 10 and 19, according to the World Health Organization.
“As far as adolescents go, very rarely do we have an available bed,” shared Sanford. “Roughly 95% of those report some sort of bullying.”
Stanford continued to explain that bullying is a major factor in why adolescents are at the hospital. She added that something needs to happen fast to help this crisis and bring more awareness.
“Hold bullies accountable. Hold the schools accountable for enforcing the policies, and empowering people to initiate change by speaking up,” Sanford expanded. “Speaking up is the biggest thing we can do for ourselves and for someone we love.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health crisis, Sanford shared several available resources:
- Go to an emergency room
- Call Oceans Behavioral Hospital – (325) 691-0030
- Tell an adult so they can help you
You can also call 988, which is the suicide and crisis lifeline.