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Sounding the suicide alarm in Jacksonville

6:14 PM, Jul 13, 2012   |    comments
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The first time she tried to kill herself, Shauna Terrell was just 11 years old.

She tried two more times before she turned 14, and the last time she tried, she shot herself in the chest with a .357 magnum.

Shauna survived. And today, she is healthy, happy -- and a powerful advocate for helping kids get early mental health help.

Unfortunately, Shauna is part of a stark statistical reality. In Jacksonville, nearly 13 percent of high school students have attempted suicide. That number is far higher than the national average of 7.8 percent, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month.

Jacksonville's rate is also higher than the 21 large cities included in that survey -- cities like Los Angeles, Detroit or Miami. It's almost twice as high as the rate in the entire state of Florida.

Experts attribute the rate to a variety of factors -- stress, access to firearms, substance abuse and low mental health funding.

For more on this story, see Saturday and Sundays issue of The Florida Times-Union.

First Coast News

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