17th Youth Dies in Welsh 'Suicide Borough'

Authorities perplexed, send experts to schools
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 10:15 AM CST
A general view shows part of the town of Bridgend in Wales, Wednesday Jan. 23, 2008. Seven young people around the southern Welsh town of Bridgend have died in the last 12 months in what is feared to...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A 16-year-old schoolgirl found hanged in the woods yesterday became the 17th youth suicide in the area of Bridgend, Wales, since early 2007. The rash of suicides has focused intense scrutiny on the town of 39,000 and its surrounding borough, where baffled police have so far failed to unearth any common motive linking the victims, the Guardian reports. Victims have ranged in age from 15 to 26.

Parents and police deny speculation that social networking websites are to blame for the suicides; some parents chalked up the deaths to media coverage that has glamorized suicide as a "way of getting attention."  Bridgend officials plan to send suicide prevention experts into every school in hopes of ending the trend, reports the Times of London.