Rep. Lauren Underwood brings teen mental health workshop to Neuqua Valley High School

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL 14) brought a discussion about mental health to Neuqua Valley High School Monday.

Last fall, two students there committed suicide within weeks of each other, prompting a number of students to demand more mental health resources.

"I would say every school district in my congressional district has been encountering this issue of suicide," Underwood said.

Underwood sat down with about a dozen students who were open and honest about their periodic challenges with mental health. One student shared that he attempted suicide more than once.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy joined the discussion virtually, applauding the students for coming forward to talk about the stigma behind mental health.

"The fact that you're here, willing to talk about what you're seeing, what you're feeling, what needs to be done, to me that is a step in the right direction," Murthy said.

Rep. Underwood said she meets quarterly with a youth advisory council and that the conversation has turned more frequently to how the government can provide more mental health resources to schools.

"Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago has seen the number of children admitted as a result of suicide attempt from two to three a month to two to three a day," she said.

In December, Murthy issued an advisory on protecting youth mental health. He briefly meditated with the students before the conversation came to a close, and encouraged them to continue to advocate for themselves.
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