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April 18, 2011 05:52 PM

Minnesota Community Coping With Teen Deaths

Marshall, MN


A southwest Minnesota community is wrestling with a wide range of emotions following the deaths of two 14-year-old girls.

The Lyon County Minnesota Sheriff's office responded to a rural home early Saturday morning where the girls were found. Investigators say the teens took their own lives.

Marshall Middle School students were back to class Monday, but two of their classmates will never return. The district has grief counselors on hand to help students and members of the community. Those counselors will be there for the remainder of the week.

“The teenage world is a lot different now. There are a lot of different things going on with our teens," Ellie Larsen said.

Larsen of Stronghold Counseling Services of Sioux Falls says in general, all of the added stresses of today's teenage life can be hard for them to handle. When it becomes too much, they can start to bottle their emotions up and then withdraw. That's when parents need to take note and take action.

"Parents that I find that have handled it best say, 'You know what, something is going on.  Maybe you don't want to talk to us, but we're going to get you to someone to talk to. We want you to be able to talk to someone,'" Larsen said.

The two teens were from the Lynd area, just southwest of Marshall. This weekend's incident is rather rare for this area, but part of a disturbing national trend in which a teen in trouble seeks another.

“Because they don't want to be alone. Adolescents, they don't think of how others are being impacted; they're just thinking how their pain is going to be relieved. They did it together so they weren't alone," Larsen said.

Leaving behind a community now dealing with questions and heartache.

Counselors add that parents aren't the only ones who can intervene. Teens can help their peers by stepping in and offering help if they feel a friend is becoming withdrawn.

WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP
• Community mental health agency 
• Private therapist or counselor 
• School counselor or psychologist 
• Family physician 
• Suicide Prevention HELP!Line at 1-800-273-TALK

Source: HELP!Line Center
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