Tragic death of Baraboo 10-year-old spurs talk of youth mental health

Local experts discuss rising statistics of kids and teens
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The investigation into the official cause of death of Baraboo 10-year-old Kodie Dutcher continues. Dutcher was found in a field near her house after she was missing for 19 hours.

The Baraboo Police Department reports Kodie left a note threatening self-harm, and her family believes she took pills.

Wednesday morning the Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf thanked the community on Facebook for their help in the search for Kodie. Chief Schauf reminded everyone to "care for each other" as they work to move on.

FROM THE CHIEF: The Baraboo community experienced a tragedy Monday that will live with us all for a long time. In a...

Posted by Baraboo Police Department on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Police said her tragic death opens the discussion of mental health for kids and teens.

"Something like this, obviously puts mental health front and center for everyone," Baraboo Police Lt. Ryan LaBroscian said.

LaBroscian said one of the ways community members can "care for each other" involves talking to kids and teens about their feelings.

“For Wisconsin, 15.7% of high school aged youths considered suicide, 7.4% of them attempted suicide.” Robin Matthies, Department of Health Services Public Health Trauma and Resilience program manager said. “Adults should ask them if they are having thoughts of suicide or thinking about killing themselves.”

Local mental health professionals say thoughts of suicide are happening at younger ages.

“Those at middle and elementary schools, I’m constantly asking them if they’re seeing an uptick in mental health issues with our younger folks and they shake their heads ‘yes,’” Gregg Curtis, Department of Instruction School Counseling and Suicide Prevent Consultant said.

These experts agree that bringing awareness to youth suicide prevention is one way to break down barriers and strengthen communities.

"Everyone needs to keep an eye on for each other and keep an eye on for their loved ones and talk to each other," Lt. LaBroscian said.

Authorities are waiting for the coroner’s report before an official cause of death is determined.

You can find more resources online from the Department of Instruction and the Department of Health Services.

The phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text “HOPELINE” to 741741.

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