A tragic ending to 18-year-old Brandy Vela’s life. On Tuesday, she shot and killed herself while standing in front of her family. As for why? Texas City Police believe she was a target of cyber bullying.

It is cases like Vela’s that draw attention to suicides in the U.S., especially among the younger generation.

According to the CDC, the suicide rate among U.S. middle school-aged kids between ages 10 and 14 is increasing. The CDC also found that for the first time, more kids in that age range have died by suicide than by car accidents.

Merilyn Keller with the Texas Suicide Prevention Council and Mental Health America of Texas spoke to KVUE Friday. Keller feels state leaders can do more when it comes to funding and research.

“Right now in Texas there is a law that all schools have to have a suicide prevention plan, but do parents know about that plan? Do all teachers know about that plan?” Keller asked.

According to the Texas Suicide Council, almost one in three students felt depressed in the past 12 months.
Close to one in five students considered suicide and more than one in six made a plan to die by suicide.

The CDC did not attempt to identify reasons behind the spike in suicide rates among America’s youth and neither did Keller. However, she points to a number of risk factors, among them bullying and social media.

For more information on Suicide Prevention click here or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.