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Suicide Prevention Town Hall Focuses On Helping Teens Battling S - KOAM TV 7

Suicide Prevention Town Hall Focuses On Helping Teens Battling Suicidal Thoughts, Depression

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    A suicide prevention town hall is held in Joplin amid a growing number of teen suicides in our area.
    The Alliance of Southwest Missouri says we're in the peak of "suicide season". 
     One teen in attendance is battling his own demons, while helping others.

Rodriguez: "I don't necessarily know how to say this...uh...Craig's dead.  and I was like, man, yea, whatever, Craig who?  And he was like...it's...it's Craig."
Elias Rodriguez held back tears as he recalled the night he learned his best friend Craig, had taken his own life.
Before that night, Rodriguez had been depressed himself, even turning to drugs at one point, and contemplating suicide himself.
But the death of his friend Craig, changed him.
Rodriguez: "After seeing how it affected his parents and his brother and his whole entire family and all 50 of his friends I saw that night, it was...innumerable, I knew that I couldn't ever do that to myself, and that was beginning the path to self healing."
Now he uses situations like the suicide prevention town hall to share his story and his experiences with those who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
He says it can be a difficult process.
Rodriguez: "They say 'what's the point?' but I realize that the point is right here and right now, every decision that you have made has brought you to this moment, don't let that moment break you, you have 1,000 moments in a day, don't let a bad moment ruin your day."
As for Rodriguez, even he is still learning how to heal.
Rodriguez: "It's a self healing process through being able to heal others, I'm teaching others to heal themselves while giving them the same lessons that I'm learning at the same time, I think that, I think that practicing good mannerisms and practicing being open to one another definitely helps on the path to self healing."

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Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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