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Devine ISD hosts teen mental health speaker following student suicide

Devine ISD hosted a teen mental health speaker weeks after the tragic death of an 11th grade girl. The high school student committed suicide on January 18th.

Devine ISD hosted a teen mental health speaker weeks after the tragic death of an 11th grade girl. The high school student committed suicide on January 18th.

"We had an incident at the school here a couple of weeks ago and so within that we wanted to bring some support to our kiddos, students and community and teachers," said Devine ISD superintendent Scott Sostarich.

The speaker, Jeff Yalden, specializes in youth mental health and family life coaching.

"The greatest health care crisis of our time is mental illness," said Yalden.

Yalden called on parents, teachers, schools and the community to identify and acknowledge the unique mental issues of teens growing up in a digital world.

"If our kids don't believe in themselves than our words don't mean anything," said Yalden.

The evening presentation was open to the community. Many people who knew the teen suicide victim were in attendance.

"It's been just a sad, sad tragedy. Many of us knew her and loved her and we always ask, you know, how in the world could something like that happen?" said one parent.

Devine ISD is working to create a new program that addresses suicide prevention.

"We're all hurt but we're a strong community," said Sostarich.

"Things like this will maybe help us become more aware of the situation and maybe even help us notice something in a young person or even in a older person when it comes to being depressed or whatever causes someone to end their life like that," said one parent in attendance.

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