Mother who lost teenage son pushes to raise awareness about suicide

Matthew Dudley

Thea Dudley lost her son six years ago.

Matthew was a successful athlete and student at Clay Chalkville High School. The 18-year-old was just a month from graduation with plans to attend Auburn when he took his own life. Three years later Thea lost her husband to suicide. She believes he was unable to overcome the heartbreak of their son Matthew's death.

She has made it her mission to talk to students, parents, anyone who will listen about the warning signs. She urges children to keep an eye on their friends and not be afraid to tell if they see something wrong. Teens in trouble may feel hopeless, depressed and isolated.

Every eleven hours someone commits suicide in Alabama. It is the third leading cause of death among 15-34 year olds. Recently two young men who were students at Oak Mountain High School committed suicide a month apart. A teacher at the school wrote a moving facebook post asking for prayer and awareness about the pressure young people face today.

Across the country there's been a rise in teen suicides, especially among girls. Experts say we must push aside the shame and stigma that come with mental illness to get people help. Mental health counselors say talking about suicide does not lead to suicide. In fact, treatment is very successful.

There are many resources to help those struggling:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line: Text the word "talk" to 741-741

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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