BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A local father is encouraging parents to get involved in their children’s lives as the new school year is underway.

Allen Randall lost his young son Jessie to depression. They didn’t seek treatment because Allen said he thought Jessie would pull through. Allen is now using Jessie’s death to push others to not suffer in silence.

“They are the key to our future. So, communication and interacting with them, with their homework. Get involved with them and see what’s going on with them because they are not always going to tell you and they are not always going to tell the teacher,” said Allen.

Mental illness is the third leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, according to research.

Experts say some mental health challenges young people face include the transition from summer break to school mode, in-home situations such as family issues or abuse, as well as building relationships.

“Be sure to ask the right questions to get children to open up,” said social worker Shamyra Howard. “Instead of asking how was your day today, ask them, ‘What was the best thing about today?’ or ‘If you could change one thing about today, what would it be? Who do you wish you could sit by?’ and ‘Who do you hope that you never have to sit by?’ and you always want to follow up those questions with why,” said Howard.

988 is the new suicide and crisis lifeline. Anyone can call or text that number 24/7 and speak with counselors.