Surge of student suicides pushes Las Vegas schools to reopen

“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”

Adolescent suicide during the pandemic cannot conclusively be linked to school closures; national data on suicides in 2020 have yet to be compiled. One study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the percentage of youth emergency room visits that were for mental health reasons had risen during the pandemic. The actual number of those visits fell, though researchers noted that many people were avoiding hospitals that were dealing with the crush of coronavirus patients. And a compilation of emergency calls in more than 40 states among all age groups showed increased numbers related to mental health…

In Clark County, 18 suicides over nine months of closure is double the nine the district had the entire previous year, Dr. Jara said. One student left a note saying he had nothing to look forward to. The youngest student he has lost to suicide was 9.

“I feel responsible.” Dr. Jara said. “They’re all my kids.”