CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Shocking statistics show 20 percent of students within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District admit they've attempted suicide.
"It really highlights the challenges a lot of students in Cleveland face," said Matthew Linick, Executive Director of Research and Evaluation at Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
The information comes from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey. CMSD Data Analyst Matthew Linick said the district volunteered to be a part of it.
Of the 19 urban school districts that took part in the survey, Cleveland tied for the top spot along with Detroit, Baltimore, and Jacksonville.
"What you see from looking at those is school districts with the largest most dense poverty in the country," Linick said.
CMSD Psychologist Bill Stencil called the statistics alarming, but he said he isn't surprised. Cleveland ranks second in the country for childhood poverty. Of more than 38,000 students, about 3,000 are homeless.
"High poverty levels can lead them to not having jobs, not having enough food, not having enough proper shelter or care, families struggling through families," said Stencil.
He said the district is working hard to help students before it's too late. They've created multiple programs that address social and emotional issues kids face everyday.
Stencil also said there are signs parents should watch out for at home.
"Change in eating habits, change in sleep habits, grades dropping, change in friendships, all of those are signs that something is happening," he said.
Changes in behavior shouldn't be ignored. Stencil said it takes an entire community to bring student suicide attempt numbers down.
The district has a Rapid Response Team in place. It was created to deal with various school-based crises such as student suicide threats and attempts, grief response and student victimization. According to CMSD, one student took his own life at home in the past 25 years.