Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Who Lost Son to Suicide Takes Strides to Save Teens

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Who Lost Son to Suicide Takes Strides to Save Teens

Article excerpt

Bryan Green can't remember ever thinking about the problem of teen suicide until Oct. 9, 1990.

That was the day his 16-year-old son, Scott, killed himself by driving his Chevy Blazer 80 miles an hour into a fully loaded gasoline tanker truck.

"He was a great kid - very funny, very loving, very tender," Green says of his son, a nationally ranked high school golfer. "We've asked ourselves the dreaded `why' question over and over again and can't come up with an answer, except that he was a kid in crisis, and he had the means to do it."

Green, of Boise, Idaho, is passing through St. Louis this week on a 3,000-mile walk across the country. He hopes his trek will draw attention to the problem of teen suicide.

Each year, 5,000 young Americans, including about 50 teen-agers in Missouri and 80 in Illinois, kill themselves. For every one who succeeds, more than 100 try, but live, experts say.

Eleven teens in St. Louis and the four nearby Missouri counties have killed themselves this year. Last month, a 15-year-old jumped off the roof of a building in Clayton, and a 17-year-old hanged himself. Nine of the deaths resulted from gunshot wounds.

Dr. Mary Case, medical examiner for St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin and St. Louis counties, was glad to hear of Green's effort.

"It's a terrible problem," she said. "In each of the counties, I'm seeing a big increase in teen suicides this year."

Green, 50, earned a Purple Heart in Vietnam and once played baseball for the Yankees' AAA team in San Jose, Calif. Before beginning the walk April 1, he was a yacht salesman. His face is tanned from a month on the road.

Green describes the trek as his personal "trail of tears."

"There's an old Zen saying that applies, something along the lines of `Before enlightenment or healing, you have to chop wood and haul water,' " he said. "As I walked toward St. …

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