CLEARFIELD -- Twenty-three grief counselors were at Clearfield High School on Thursday to help students and faculty cope with the suicides of two pupils this week.
Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said 19 counselors were provided by the district and four came from Davis Behavioral Health.
The counselors were also at Clearfield High School on Monday and Wednesday.
Police said the victims are a 15-year-old male from Syracuse, who died Sunday, and a 16-year-old male from Clearfield, who died Wednesday. The names of the teens, who both died at home, were not released.
The only apparent connection between the two young men is that they both attended Clearfield High, Williams said. There is no indication the two killed themselves as a result of a pact, he said.
The teens were popular on campus, and one was an athlete, while the other was involved in student government, Williams said.
Those who knew the teens said they showed no signs of being troubled or depressed, which has caused some to wonder if they could have done more to prevent their deaths, Williams said.
"That's a question that can go on a long time and can't be answered," he said.
In addition to helping students and faculty, grief counselors were also available Wednesday night at Clearfield High to provide guidance to 140 parents in discussing suicide with their children.
Greg Hudnall, associate superintendent of the Provo City School District and a nationally known expert in teen suicide prevention, gave a presentation to parents.
Hudnall said the main risk factors among adolescent suicides are:
* Mental illness and substance abuse.
* Previous suicide attempts.
* Firearms in the household.
* Low self-esteem
* Exposure to suicidal behavior from family and friends.
Copy cat suicides, known as contagion, are rare and are responsible for less than 4 percent of self-inflicted deaths, Hudnall said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Adults need to exercise care when discussing with adolescents the suicide of a friend or classmate so as not to glamorize the death.
"It should celebrate the individual not the event," Hudnall said.
It's also important for teens to have a trusted adult they can confide in if they feel depressed or suicidal, he added.
Suicide was listed as the second-leading cause of death among Utah residents ages 15 to 19 in 2010 study by the Utah Department of Health. From 2004 to 2008, suicide accounted for 26 percent of all deaths in the 15 to 19 age group, and males made up 79 percent of the victims, the study found.
Utah ranks ninth in suicides in the U.S. among individuals ages 15 to 24, said Hudnall.
There have been 11 student suicides in the Davis School District in the last seven years, mostly high school students, said Williams. The district has 67,736 students enrolled.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Observable signs of serious depression, such as:
* Anxiety, sleep problems
* Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
* Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
* Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
Making a plan, such as:
* Giving away prized possessions
* Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
* Obtaining other means of killing oneself, such as poisons or medications
* Unexpected rage or anger
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention