TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind (WLFI) - New findings report Tippecanoe County saw seven child fatalities for 2019. This is according to the Child Fatality Review Team.
Three of the deaths were caused by unsafe sleeping practices in infants.
Two of the child deaths have been attributed to suicide. Tenecia Waddell-Pyle with Mental Health America said there are resources available to help prevent suicide in children. She said talking to children about mental health and sharing feelings needs to start at a young age.
“Starting that conversation young about mental health is really important because that helps to destigmatize it overall,” said Waddell-Pyle. “So many times, people spend a lot of their time bottling things up, hiding them, or thinking that no one else is going through those issues when people actually are, and those conversations help people know that this is something that is normal.”
Libby Sheffield with West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School said parents shouldn't be afraid to address any possible changes in their child's behavior or attitude.
“The best thing is to just be aware of signs and to not make excuses in your own head for things that maybe have changed about your own child,” said Sheffield. “Keep an ear out, keep an eye out. Just be sure that parents and other adults are aware of what students are talking about and what kinds of signs they might be presenting that could be troublesome.”
The Child Fatality Review team hopes to report zero deaths by suicide in children for 2020.
For information on resources offered by Mental Health America, click here.