CAOE CORAL, Fl. - In less than a month, two lee county teenagers took their own lives. Now school leaders are reaching out to parents to address the issue head on.
Monday night, school leaders and parents met at Ida S. Baker high school in Cape Coral. The goal? How to identity suicidal signs and how to take action before tragedy occurs.
"To see these faces on this quilt, this is reality, this is what really happens in our community," says Virginia Cervasio with C.A.R.E.S.
Faces of victims lost to suicide. A loss Virginia Cervasio says, unfortunately she knows. Almost seven years ago, her 24-year-old son Angelo took his own life.
"We're thrown into a club that we don't want to belong to... I didn't become a survivor because that's what I chose to do, my son made the decision for me." she adds.
Virginia says it wasn't until after Angelo's death that she realized he showed many suicidal signs.
"He started giving away things, he started putting his affairs in order..." she adds.
It's why she started C.A.R.E.S. Community Awareness in Recognizing and Educating on Suicide. A mission the faculty at Ida S. Baker High School is taking on.
School leaders have created awareness here, helping students identify stress factors in their lives, teaching them coping mechanisms and also letting them know what resources are available. Monday night, school leaders shared this plan with parents.
"This is a tough time for the kids and we want to be ahead of the game," says parent, Louis Ayala.
"Everybody needs it not just parents, everybody should know and recognize the signs," adds mother, Debbie Rivinius.
Between January and August this year, 103 Lee County kids 17 and younger were treated after attempting to commit suicide. Numbers this school community hopes education lowers.
"It puts a face to the suicide word. It's reality," Virginia adds.