Parents have so much to worry about already.
Now, a new Vanderbilt study says more and more teens are thinking about taking their own lives.
In fact, the number of teens has more than doubled in the last decade.
Some common factors are school-related stress and social media.
Nearly two-thirds of trips to the emergency room for attempted suicides are girls, and the most are among 15 to 17-year-olds.
Scott Ridgway is executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. Ridgway started by volunteering at the local crisis center.
“They think the only way out is taking their life,” he said. “A 16-year-old called the crisis center one morning, and she wanted to take her own life. I realized answering that telephone really made a difference.”
Some warning signs parents are told to look out for include: Verbal warnings & statements such as "I wish I were dead.” "I want to kill myself." Changes in mood, appetite & appearance. Increase in alcohol or drug use. Lack of interest in academics & activities.Dr. Greg Plemmons, a clinical pediatrician, is the lead author of the Vanderbilt study.
“We’re better than ever at vaccinating and preventing disease, and now we're really struggling with mental health issues with kids,” said Plemmons. “We see a big increase when school starts."
Plemmons attributes this to academic pressures and cyberbullying through social media.
“Females, in general, are bigger users of social media,” he said. “The more likely kids are on screen time, the more it increases their risk of depression. If your kid is spending more than three hours a day, that increases their risk of depression.”
Plemmons encourages parents to have a conversation about this. Don't be worried that bringing it up is somehow going to put the idea in their head.
Each day, three Tennesseans are lost to suicide. There is help available, and people are available to listen.
If you need assistance or need to speak with someone, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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