Five Leander ISD students have committed suicide since the school year began according to parents and students in the district.
Now, district officials are looking for ways to prevent any more loss of life.
Dozens attended an event Friday night called "Teens, It's Your Turn To Talk" underneath a pavilion at Milburn Park which opened the doors to how these kids are feeling and coping with daily life.
"I want to know what it's like to be a teen," said mom and event organizer Emily Carter. "It's very important for us to know what they're going through."
The group talked openly about suicide, asking why since the start of the school year at least five Leander ISD students have taken their own lives.
"I think some of it can be attributed to the fact that its sort of like a cascading effect," Cedar Park High School student Seth Wilson said. "That feeling can transfer on to other people."
Students addressed the challenges and stresses they face that could lead to suicidal thoughts. For some, it's the pressure to fit in, especially on social media.
"You have to look like this, you have to act like this," said one student.
Others said they're stressed by academic expectations and their workload.
"I had to pull two all-nighters staying up until 3 a.m. for two nights in a row," one student said.
"I think something that is happening is that our district is very high pressure and very high stress" Leander High School student Dana Pierce said. She experienced the pressure firsthand after making her high school's dance team.
"We had three-hour rehearsals every day, multiple times a week," Pierce said.
The pressure to be the best got to her.
"I struggle with depression and anxiety and so I couldn't get up in the morning from practice," Pierce said. "I couldn't stay up late enough to stay at school and so eventually I had to quit the sport that I love because I couldn't keep up. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do."
It seems the consensus among this group is that it's hard being a teen in today's times and the lack of communication isn't helping. They want their parents and teachers to know their struggles and make an effort to help.
"I think that if people just checked on each other and shows that they care, they'll be much better off," Wilson said.
Wilson believes conversations like the one held Friday can make all the difference when it comes to making a change.
Leander ISD did acknowledge the loss of life but are not going into detail when it comes to how the students died. They did offer several suggestions on where students can receive mental help if they need it.
We've posted those recommendations below.
Those struggling are also encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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