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Mother raises mental health awareness as youth suicide attempts increase

Kodie Dutcher’s mother continues to share her daughter‘s story.
Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - It’s been nearly one year since 10-year-old Kodie Dutcher was found dead just miles from her Baraboo home. It was later called a death by suicide. Her passing continues to shine a light on youth mental health awareness.

Kodie’s mother, Brandy Bielicki continues to share her daughter’s story in hopes of helping others.

“Since my daughter has passed and her story has been out there...lots of parents have reached out to me,” said Kodie’s mom. The need for mental health awareness is growing amid the pandemic.

CDC researchers found that emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 increased by nearly 30 percent during the pandemic.

“Its super unfortunate but understandable...our girls at that age… their hormones are all over the place so they’re really trying to fit in and find their way,” said Bielicki.

2020 data on suicide and mental health for Wisconsin is not available yet, but in 2019, at least 16 percent of kids in Wisconsin considered suicide and 7 percent attempted it.

State health officials are tracking the trends. “The number of teens feeling sad and hopeless consistently has been rising in Wisconsin for more than a decade and the suicide rate for teens and young adults in Wisconsin has been above the national average,” said Linda Hall, director at the Children’s Office of Mental Health.

Parents are encouraged to talk to their kids regularly about mental health.

Brandy says Kodie always wanted a baby brother. Now she has one. As a mom again to a newborn baby boy, Brandy hopes Kodi’s legacy lives on.

State health officials say LGBTQ youth and youth of color are increasingly becoming more vulnerable.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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