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      Texas highest suicide risk rate for youth in the country

      Alfonso Mercado said he's worked with children and adolescents for 10 years as a therapist.

      He said according to a study by the Texas Mental Health America, Texas has the highest suicide risk rate in the country for youth.

      "Suicide among the youth is also the third leading cause of death|so we really need to pay attention to the warning signs and identify and provide early treatment and intervention before the depression becomes worse to the point of that psychiatric emergency where someone is in danger of their selves or others," said Mercado who works at Tropical Texas Behavioral Health.

      Mercado said during teenage years, there are biological changes and hormonal shifts that play a role when dealing with depression and parents need to be on the lookout.

      "When grades start declining with students would be one example. School absenteeism...these are all behavioral signs of depression when it starts to interfere with their day to day functioning," said Mercado.

      Other signs could be not sleeping or sleeping too much, restlessness, not being able to concentrate, loss of energy, feeling worthless, change in appetite, and no longer being interested in favorite activities, and if you're child mentions they want to die, Mercado said to take it very seriously.

      There are mobile crisis outreach teams provided by Tropical Texas Behavioral Health that provide a 24 hour valley-wide response.

      They assess the risk of suicide and talk the person out of it.

      To contact them in a time of mental health emergencies call 1-877-289-7199.

      But to prevent things from getting to the point of suicide, Mercado said communication is the key.

      Not only between parent and child but also in schools.

      "I think having a good communication system among the teachers the administrators and working with mental health professionals as well so that everyone can be on the same page as well as providing outreach to the families," said Mercado.