Observe your kids mental health right now, experts say. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline #Be 1 campaign shares steps a person can do to prevent suicide.
Most of our kids have been navigating the new, challenging standard for almost a year, like social isolation, intensely depressed parents, and the consequences of financial uncertainty.
While Covid-19 has primarily spared children's physical health, studies have shown that it has taken a toll on their mental health, correlated with a rise in behaviors linked to suicide, experts claim.
As of 2018, before the pandemic hit, suicide was the second leading cause of death among kids and teenagers aged 10 to 19 in the United States. A new pre-publication, peer-reviewed study in the journal Pediatrics found some increases, while suicide attempts and ideation were not consistently more severe in 2020.
"Months with significantly higher rates of suicide-related behaviors appear to correspond to times when COVID-related stressors and community responses were heightened, indicating that youth experienced elevated distress during these periods."
Julie Williamson, associate professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, said: "One of the ways to prevent pediatric suicide attempts is to keep your medications locked away."
Parents should invest in a lockbox, Williamson said, not just for potentially lethal prescription drugs. She said "For adolescents, suicide is often extremely impulsive and not pre-planned, so even small barriers can keep catastrophes from happening." She also added, "Attain a lockbox for even non-prescription drugs such as Tylenol. That will help protect against accidental overdose, as well. For younger children, it can discourage them from swallowing the pill unintentionally."
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Kid's Mental Health Hotlines
Amidst an ongoing public health epidemic, we still have an incredible opportunity to come together to deepen the awareness of mental health within our families and our communities.
Everyone is encouraged to connect with their friends and loved ones in an open, frank conversation, display compassion and kindness, and practice self-care by exercising, meditating, and reading the news in calculated doses. And reach out to those who may be lonely and need additional assistance. Below are hotline numbers for faster service.
1. Dating Abuse and Domestic Violence or loveisrespect: 1-866-331-9474
They focus on young adult relationships and hope to end dating abuse and offer 24/7 help.
2. Depression and Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 and The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
The Trevor Project provided 24/7 support to the LGBTQ young adult community. There are also specific suicide hotlines according to the area.
3. General Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741
The Crisis Text Line extends 24/7 help to everyone. Their goal is to help everyone move from a hot moment to a cool one, guiding each to create a plan to stay safe and healthy.
4. National Eating Disorder Association Hotline: 1-800-931-2237
NEDA offers help Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST) to a variety of eating disorders and hopes to "envision a world without eating disorders."
5. National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264
NAMI provides treatment options and programs. They wish to "raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need." The NAMI hotline is available every Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
6. Sexual Assault like Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network: 1-800-656-4673
RAINN is the largest 24/7 anti-sexual violence organization in the world. In addition to seeking ways to avoid sexual violence, their mission is to provide victims with options and programs.
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