Teens under Pressure: Reporters

Two Towns Engulfed By Tragedy
Two teen girls recently took their life in a small town on the East Coast. A series of teens " male and female " also died by suicide in a Northern California town.
 
Dr. Phil explains why he won't disclose the gory details. "There is something called ‘suicide contagion' or copycat effect," he says. "Contagion is defined as suicidal behavior by people who are influenced by a previous attempt or completion."
 
Research shows that there is a right and wrong way to discuss suicide in the media. "It is not productive to talk specifically about the precise method of the suicide, or to share too many details of the scene or even the heartbreaking reactions of the family, because it could spark vulnerable teens to become copycats," Dr. Phil says. 

Click here for more media guidelines.
 
Journalist, columnist and author Diane Dimond joins Dr. Phil via satellite. She was a witness to the recent incident on the East Coast where two teenage girls died by suicide. [AD]
 
"What we do know is that 90-plus percent of the people who are involved with a suicidal act have a serious mental illness, whether it is diagnosed or whether it's not," Dr. Phil says. "Were there clues that had been missed?"
 
"Yes, I believe so, and I say that with no judgment on her parents, or classmates or counselors," Diane replies. "In this instance, there had been a classmate who died six weeks previously. These girls just never got over their grief. They discussed their grief on MySpace, and Facebook, and in texts to each other and in the halls at school. What they didn't do was talk about it with an adult. The police here on the East Coast believe that there might have been as many as seven children in that high school talking about a suicide pact."
"That's one of the messages I want to send loud and clear today. Teens who are watching this show, look, you are not a snitch. You are not ratting people out if you don't keep this secret. You need to be willing to talk about this," Dr. Phil says.
 
He introduces Natasha Brown, reporter and anchor for Philadelphia affiliate station KYW-TV, who joins the show via satellite. Natasha has been covering the story of a recent rise in teen suicides in the Philadelphia area. "Tell us what you know about this," Dr. Phil says.
 
"Both of them were sophmores at the local high school that happens to be just a few blocks or so away from where the suicides took place. They were very popular girls, and we talked to one student in particular who told us that she actually tried to stop these girls from doing this the day before it happened," Natasha reports.
 
[AD]Dr. Phil shares a list of Dos for Dealing with Suicide:
 
- DO take your friend's actions seriously.
- DO encourage your friend to seek professional help.
- DO immediately talk to an adult you trust.
 
Click here for the complete list.
 
"I think all of us parents need to become more technologically aware of the way our kids are communicating now so we can monitor this stuff and not be the last to know," Dr. Phil says. 
 
If a loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).