Michigan community reeling after 3 teens committed suicide in last eight months

A small rural Michigan village is reeling after three local teens took their lives during the past eight months.

Earlier this month, Shealynn Pobuda, 14, of Kingsley, committed suicide, the Detroit Free Press reported. Her death shocked the small community of 1,600 people.

“Everyone was devastated,” Keith Smith, the superintendent of Kingsley Area Schools, told The Washington Post. "This is a small community, and not only do we all know each other, we all know each others’ kids."

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Pobuda’s death follows that of another 14-year-old, Kayden Stone, who committed suicide in September. DeAnte Bland, 16, died in June.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 to 34 in Michigan is suicide.

Smith told The Washington Post he broke down over the weekend, as the crisis hit too close to home.

“I reached my breaking point on Saturday; I sat down and cried for an hour,” he said. “I just can’t take any more of this...you just get overcome with emotions.”

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Smith said many students have come forward and asked for help or counseling following Pobuda’s death. The Kingsley School District has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help raise suicide awareness.

Experts have connected teen suicide with “poor access to mental health screenings” and societal issues, the Detroit Free Press reported. Teen suicides have also been linked to the opioid epidemic as well, The Washington Post reported.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).