QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Since May 2017, five students from Queen Creek High School have committed suicide, including an incident that was announced on Tuesday. Now, students and parents say it's an epidemic, and they are also saying enough is enough.
"I'm frustrated," said Autumn Bourque, a senior at Queen Creek High. "Really frustrated because efforts seem so minimal."
Bourque has been in this position too many times.
"I'm tired. I'm fed up. I'm done," said Bourque. "I want to see change."
The frustration is mounting. Bourque says she and many others don't feel the effort coming from the administration or school district. For Bourque, the pain is personal, as she lost a close friend last summer.
"Somedays are easier than others, but there are the days when you wake up every morning -- it's just knowing they're not going to be there anymore," said Bourque, trying hard to hold back her tears.
"We have a major crisis on our hands. We truly are in an epidemic with losing our kids," said Christina Nguyen, who heads Project Connect 4. It's a group formed in the wake of a rising child suicide rate in Arizona.
Nguyen has met with a number of families around the state that have dealt with the loss of a child.
"No parent wants to bury their child, for any reason," said Nguyen. "Not cancer, not drugs, and certainly not to suicide. I think it affects all of them. They want to do something and speak up and to help."
Nguyen says she hasn't been able to identify a common factor, no answer for the "why" at Queen Creek, or anywhere around the state.
"Why did we lose another kid?" said Nguyen. "How is this continuing to happen?"
"I think our school needs to have our counselors checking in with the student, which they don't do," said Bourque.
The Project Connect 4 group will be outside the school Friday morning, in a show of support with signs to let students know they are loved, and they are being heard.
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you are contemplating suicide, or know of someone who is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889, or go to their website to access the lifeline chat service.
Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454, or go to the Spanish section of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website access resources.
Si usted necesita ayuda para prevenir suicidio, llama al número 1-888-628-9454. Su llamada es confidencial