Saginaw teen highlights growing concern of rise in teen suicide in Michigan

Kimberly Teneyuque sits with her dad in their Saginaw home. (Photo from Andrew Fergerson)

SAGINAW, Mich - Public health officials throughout Mid-Michigan and the state are worried about the growing number of teen suicides.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 2007 suicides of people ages ten to nineteen have increased by fifty six percent in the United States.

In 2017, two hundred and seventeen people under the age of 25 died by suicide in Michigan.

Kimberly Teneyuque is a 13-year-old girl who loves to draw and post to her Instagram page.

She loves her cat 'Meow' and has ambition to become a hair stylist.

Kimberly says she was bullied at school, he fellow classmates shoved her into lockers and called her names, all leading to feelings of worthlessness and says those feelings were too much for her to handle.

In May of 2016, at the age of 12, she attempted suicide by overdose.

Kimberly was in a coma at Covenant Hospital for three days.

Kimberly's dad Alberto was by her side the entire time, hoping for his prayers to be answered.

"I prayed and I prayed hard, ya know father came to pray for her and this and that and I thank God that he gave her back to me," said Alberto Teneyuque.

Kimberly barely remembers that incident.

"When I woke up I was angry at myself, because I always felt I was a failure and then I felt when I woke up you are such a failure that you failed at killing yourself," said Kimberly Teneyuque.

For Kimberly everyday is a battle.

"When I feel like suicidal I always think really hard about it, and then I usually end up not doing it because I find a reason to live," said Kimberly Teneyuque

According to the centers for disease control, bullying can and does lead to high levels of suicide related behavior.

Doctor Recco Richardson, who didn't treat Kimberly, says bullying is a major factor that sometimes pushes teens over the edge.

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"Watch for changes in behavior, mood, diet, if they isolate more or if they become too social out of their comfort zone too much, its sign they are struggling with," says Richardson.

Alberto noticed troublesome signs in his daughter a year before her suicide attempt.

He says she cut herself and would spend a lot of time alone in her room.

"When I first tried to kill myself it was in the moment thing," said Kimberly Teneyuque.

"I don't want to see another parent go through what I went through, I don't want to see another child go through what she did to think that's the only way to get away from bullying is to go through suicide," said Alberto Teneyuque.

Alberto started a Facebook page and support group to fight bullying and to call for tougher legislation when it comes to bullying.

Together Alberto and Kimberly are recovering, two years after her suicide attempt Kimberly continues therapy, and is finishing school by taking online classes.

She takes things day by day and has a new lease on life.

"When I am in my room and suicidal and I think about actually doing it which is often for me, I end up really thinking about my life and what I have to live for and all the good things," said Kimberly Teneyuque.

RELATED LINK: Suicide rising across the US

RELATED LINK: Risk Factors and Warning Signs

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