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New Data on Young Adolescent Suicide and What you Can Do

Written by Bethany Todd, in collaboration with Laura Barr

“It is now just as likely for middle school students to die from suicide as from traffic accidents.”
(New York Times)

Recently, The New York Times reported alarming data that young adolescents, ages 10-14, have experienced a rise in suicide rates.  These kids are so young! Many professionals state that these rates can’t be pinpointed to one issue, but social media is definitely a contributing factor in making young adolescents problems worse. Children can’t seem to simply retreat home and escape their problems as they could before social media.  Depression is also on the rise, and as a result, the American Association of Pediatrics is recommending that children ages 11-18 get screened for depression at annual well-visits. But, What else can we do!? Certainly this data is calling parents to action!

Let’s start here:
If you suspect any pre-teen or teen is struggling with anxiety or depression, seek out help immediately. School counselors are an excellent resource or contact the professionals at Birch Psychology at 303-834-1026 or info@birchpsychology.com

What can Parents Do?

  1. Always be on the look out for symptoms of depression as well as any mention of suicidal thoughts: low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, problems with sleep, energy and concentration (Time) are all symptoms of depression.
  2. Learn more about the various causes of depression, especially in young adolescents.
  3. Understand that people with ADHD are at a higher risk of suicide. (Live Science and University of Chicago Medicine)
  4. Ensure that your doctor is screening for depression at your child’s well visits.
  5. Provide boundaries and guidelines for social media use.
  6. Talk to your children about bullying and cyber-bullying and what to do if they are being targeted.  Have these conversations with your child before they find themselves in a bullying situation.
  7. Talk to your school leadership about what they are doing to help students with anxiety, depression, and mental health issues.

 

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