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Preventing youth suicide in Connecticut

Marina Yoshimura seems to have it all.

The budding entrepreneur is launching her own online business and she just wrapped up a year at Yale.

"I had the opportunity to learn not just what to think or how to think, but also how to feel And how to respond to certain issues,” said Yoshimura.

But despite her success, the 22-year-old felt like a failure, she was depressed and contemplating suicide.

“There was a mix of trauma, fear, anger, resentment, sense of hopelessness and helplessness, all of that,” she said.

Yoshimura is not alone.

According to the University of Connecticut, young people think about suicide more than any other group.

About 12 young people ages 15-24 take their own lives across the country everyday and one in 12 college students will make a suicide plan.

Just over the past several months in Connecticut, a 16-year-old Danbury High School student took her life after jumping from a parking garage, a 20-year-old from Stratford completed suicide after struggling with being gay, and an 11-year-old in Cheshire died by suicide shortly after starting at a new school.

Alysa Caouette with Mental Health Connecticut said for individuals ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the state.

FOX61’s Keith McGilvery asked Caouette about warning signs that someone may be in trouble.

“For warning signs you want to look for an individual who is withdrawn, talking about death or suicide, The feeling of wanting to die, hopelessness, they’ve lost interest in things they used to do or the friends they used to hang out with,” she said.

Experts agree there’s one thing every adult needs to do.

“Talk to them about it, people are afraid to talk about it, It is OK to ask the question, ‘are you thinking about suicide?',"Caouette said.

"The best way to have a conversation about this is to be direct. It is a myth, that if we ask a child about an uncomfortable topic, if we ask them about drugs or if we ask them about suicide or depression, that will put the idea into their head.”

Saunders said there are also other ways parents can look for signs of trouble.

“Connecting with other networks of parents gives you a sense of a connectedness, and also it gives you, some information about other things that may be going on," she said.

For Marina, it was a friend who spotted trouble and took her to Yale Health for help. She tells FOX61 she’s now on the road to being well and has one wish for young people who may be thinking about taking their own lives.

“Summon the courage to ask for help, because in the end that can be the silver lining,” said Yoshimura.

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, it is important to know that there is help. You can call 211 or use the crisis text hotline at 741741.

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