The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a steep rise in adolescent anxiety and depression rates. Seven out of every ten young people are currently dealing with mental health. And if depression and anxiety rise, the suicide rates of adolescents also increase.
This year's awareness of the main elements for reducing the risk of suicide among adolescents can be more critical than ever for parents, health workers, and teachers.
Experts claim it's too early to say whether the pandemic caused suicide rates to peak. However, they caution against the considerable risks.
The youth suicide rate in the U.S. was the highest in history right before the pandemic started. Suicide rates increased by 35 percent at the beginning of the 21st century, according to an April 2020 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And teenage rates are particularly worrying.
The following figures indicate trends of depression and suicide among adolescents
- In 2017, the suicide rate was 14.46 per 100,000 youths aged 15 to 24 years - the highest ever.
- The second-largest cause of death in the United States is suicide between 15 and 24 years old.
- Current teen suicide figures indicate that 17% of high school pupils took suicide seriously, and 8% attempted suicide.
- Mentally health has never been diagnosed, with over half of teenagers attempting to commit suicide.
- The rate of suicide among lesbians, gay and bisexual young people is 3.5 times higher than heterosexual youth.
Reduce suicide risks in teens
According to Jonathan Singer, President of the United States Association of Suicidology, one of the best ways to decrease suicide risk is family relations. Experts say that parents and caregivers will aid in these crucial ways.
- Be Aware
Parents must be aware of the real suicide risks in teens, even if they think: Not my child. When phones became a thing, kids spent most of their themselves on screens. They are more and more dazed intellectually and emotionally. Simultaneously, those screens keep them inactive and hide their emotional and social lives away from their families.
Pay attention to what's happening in their lives is much more helpful. There are dangerous things out there, and typically, parents can't help but lecture their teens. However, if parents are constantly coming at their kids with a plan, teens will suppress it.
- Let them feel
To handle major emotions means to experience them and to learn how to cope with them. But parents also try to keep their children away from the pain. Teens, in turn, are not equipped to handle big emotions. Thus, let them feel and then empathize and ask questions.
- Discuss mental health
Mental well-being is as critical as physical health, and it must be discussed before there is an issue. It is particularly vital if there is a history of mental problems in the family. Teens can realize they are not alone if they also have it. It can open up a household dialog about looking for warning signs and thus reduce suicide risks.
- Check Signs for Suicide
Signs if someone is having suicidal thoughts
- Speaking of suicide or wanting to die on social media
- Feel helpless or stuck
- Increased prescription and alcohol use
- Weight, look, or sleeping activity changes
- Collect medicines, sharp objects, weapons, or some other thing to commit suicide or self-damage
- Isolation and retirement from colleagues
- Online searching for suicide approaches
- To visit or to say goodbye to people and give precious possessions
- Concentration problems and a decline in academic achievement
- Migraine, common stomach, or other physical problems
- Take the following steps if you see any of the mentioned signs:
- Don't leave the person alone.
- Take away everything that teens could use in a suicide effort, such as ﬁrearms, liquor, drugs, blades, or other sharp items.
- Dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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