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CCSD faces rise in student suicides; local foundation helps families through mental health battles |

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CCSD faces rise in student suicides; local foundation helps families through mental health battles

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Students in Clark County will continue learning from home through at least early January. That's when CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara says the Board of Trustees will take up the next transition plan.

Meanwhile, there are concerns within the school district about how students are struggling with the change.

Some cases have even led to suicide.

"Mental health is very serious," said Reggie Burton, founder of the Avery Burton Foundation. "It doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you went to Coronado High School or Foothills High School. Rich, poor, Black or white or Asian or whatever. It doesn't matter."

Burton knows the pain of losing the mental health battle.

Avery, Reggie's son, took his own life three years ago after a severe bout with depression. He had just graduated from UNLV two months prior.

Shortly after Avery's death, his father founded the Avery Burton Foundation and wrote a book called "This is Depression." Reggie wanted to help other families understand what to look for when loved ones were in trouble.

"They start to pull away," Burton explained. "They start to withdraw from activities, and they find it very awkward to talk to their parents about what they are experiencing."

Reggie says he's not surprised students are having trouble through the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Clark County Coroner's Office, there have been 14 reported suicides for kids under the age of 18-years-old. The youngest was nine.

"I don't want other families or parents to go through what I went through," said Burton. "I get one call, text or email per week from a person."

He also mentioned what he calls a Mental Aid Action Plan, or ALGEE. The acronym stands for:

  • A: Assess the situation
  • L: Make sure to listen
  • G: Give assurance
  • E: Encourage appropriate professional help
  • E: Encourage self-help through seeking out resources

If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). People are available to help who speak English and Spanish.