Federal officials are planning a national conference on teen suicides in Washington in June, the commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families announced Friday.
Dodie Livingston visited West Texas to participate in a Research in Action Conference sponsored by the Texas Tech University Institute for Child and Family Studies.
"We're all very concerned about teen suicide. It's a very sad and tragic problem," Livingston told reporters at a news conference. "We hope to make a dent on public awareness."
"We want kids to feel that they can turn to their fellow kids," said Livingston, the mother of two. "We want them to feel that they can reach out to their friends."
She said conference organizers wanted to encourage the people to help secure professional counseling for teen-agers considering suicide.
"Maybe we can take a bite out of this problem," Livingston said, noting the 5,000 suicides in the United States last year.