WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Students head back to class Wednesday at Standley Lake High School, after a student set himself on fire in the cafeteria Monday morning.
That student, Vince Nett, 16, is still in very serious condition.
The shocking suicide attempt has left many wondering if this could have been averted.
A lot of times, people who try or succeed in killing themselves give warning signs.
One expert on suicide prevention learned the hard way—by losing two loved ones.
But now, Les Franklin, hopes you can learn from him.
Metro Crisis Services answers 3,000 phone calls a month, 24-7, on its suicide prevention hotline..
On the other end, desperate, hopeless people, reaching for a lifeline.
“I don’t have any grandchildren. I’ll never have grandchildren. And there’s not a day that goes by, I don’t think about the loss of my sons,” says Les Franklin, founder of the Shaka Franklin Foundation.
He did not know how desperate his two sons were.
Twenty-four years ago, 16-year-old, Shaka, killed himself.
A decade later, his 32-year-old son, Jamon, did the same.
“We started the foundation in his (Shaka’s) name to try to help parents understand what I didn’t know,” says Franklin.
The foundation works to educate others about suicide and how to prevent it, like noticing warning signs, including: giving away possessions, withdrawal or rebelliousness, neglect of academic work, inability to tolerate frustration, unwillingness to communicate, sexual promiscuity, neglecting personal appearance and truancy.
Child psychologist Sheryl Ziegler says Nett may have left multiple signs, including a post on his Facebook page: “Maybe if I hit my head on my desk enough times I’ll die.”
“My best piece of advice is to be as engaged and involved in your kid’s lives as you can possibly be. That means knowing who their friends are, knowing where they are, knowing what they’re doing,” says Ziegler.
She says also know their passwords and online activity.
She says see what they post and what they respond to. She says it will give huge insights of how a child’s life off line is manifesting online.
Franklin also has advice.
“I think that’s what children need. They need to be told, reinforced over and over and over again. You can’t tell a child, you love them too many times,” he says.
Those interested in helping raise money for the Nett family can learn more here.