Stress, anxiety and anger seem to affect even children now. And they happen to stir the emotions of children to such an extent in the United States that they are now attempting to kill themselves to overcome the problems.
According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2016, the suicide rate among middle school students in the U.S. has doubled during 2007-2014. Middle school students in the U.S. are more likely to die from suicides than from tragic accidents. Each day, thousands of school children, as young as five year old, are attempting suicide.
In 2014, 425 youngsters aged 10-14 years took their own lives as compared to 384 who died in car accidents the same year, as per the CDC. Mark Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), said that a rise in the suicide rate among the youth should be of concern and with time experts might be able to uncover some reasons behind it. He, however, said one needs to be cautious not to rush to any conclusion.
Myths surrounding suicide among children
Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren, New York-based clinical psychologist said that the past 20 years have seen a change in the cultural norms because of which adolescents in the past decade have been frequently coming up with questions pertaining to suicide. She also cautioned that though there has been an increase in the diagnosis of depression lately, it is not clear whether the problem is simply being identified more than ever before or whether more people are actually depressed.
As children spend most of their time in schools, staff at schools, along with parents and medical professionals, play a key role in addressing the mental health of students and in identifying suicidal symptoms among children. Some of the common misconceptions surrounding suicide among children are:
Young people are not suicidal: One of the primary myths surrounding suicide is that young people are not prone to suicides. However, young children do try to end their lives by getting hit by a car or by running into traffic. Some of the reasons behind such actions could be stress in the family or physical abuse at a young age.
Stigma of suicide: If there is a stigma attached to mental illnesses, there is also a stigma attached to the term “‘suicide.” The best way to prevent someone from taking such a step is to talk to the person openly about it.
It’s not always depression: Although each year hundreds of Americans take their own lives due to depression, it is not the sole cause of an increase in the suicide rate among youngsters. Other mental illnesses like anxiety, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders can also promote suicidal thoughts among youngsters.
Early warning signs: It has been observed that most people with suicidal tendencies often give feelers to other people about their condition, such as irritability, withdrawal and loss of concentration. Therefore, it is important for people surrounding them to recognize the symptoms and offer them help.
As per David Jobes, head of the Suicide Prevention Lab, Catholic University, Washington, D.C., as children spend a lot of their time in schools, suicide prevention has been focused on schools for a long time.
Help at hand
An increase in the number of teenagers getting suicidal thoughts can be attributed to various reasons. Some of the factors can be increased use of internet, excessive exposure to social media, an increase in diagnosis of mental illnesses among children and increased usage of prescription and non-prescription drugs.
If your child or a youngster whom you know is dealing with any mental illness or displays suicidal behavior, it is time to get them professional help. We, at the Florida Mental Health Helpline, can help you or your loved one find the best rehab centers in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online with our experts to know about the best treatments for mental health disorders in Florida.