Deanna Bencomo wants parents to know the warning signs.
“My son took his life on Aug. 4,” she said.
Her 17-year-old son Rudy Bencomo had been in counseling and group therapy for depression, but he never came home after leaving for school that day.
“To me, it’s gotten a lot harder. The longer it goes that my son’s not here… it’s hard,” said Deanna.
Rudy is now one of five students from Queen Creek High School who have taken their life since May and is among 20 East Valley students who made the same choice this school year.
“When you hear of another student taking their life, and another parent has to join your group of parents who have lost their child, it sets you back,” said Deanna.
Mental health expert Katey McPherson said she sees a similar pattern with teens dealing with depressions, all problems coming back to two things.
“Sleep is the number one factor and tied to that is social media impact,” said McPherson.
McPherson said the constant comparison to others on social media has led to a lack of coping skills among teens. Rudy’s friend and classmate Justin Palm has struggled with suicidal thoughts too.
“I haven’t self-harmed in six months because I went to counseling and stuff,” said Palma.
Queen Creek Unified said their counselors will be screening all high school students for mental health by April. But Rudy’s friends said it’s going to take more to create change, and hope students will speak up.
“If they reach out, they could potentially save their own life,” said Palma
RESOURCES National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition: (480) 784-1500 Arizona Suicide Hotlines Arizona Suicide Prevention Resource Center American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Arizona Chapter You are Not Alone NetworkClick/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.
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