Adolescent Suicide is on the Rise. Here are Resources to Help.

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At Pride Surveys, we are driven by our commitment to work with our partners in education and community coalitions to deliver data, research, and resources surrounding issues affecting adolescents and children. With this month being National Suicide Prevention Month, we are focusing on the new research shedding light on adolescent suicide. 

Last October, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a national statement declaring that the pandemic accelerated the worrying trends in child and adolescent mental health, resulting in what is now being described as a “national emergency,” with adolescent suicide becoming a top concern and area of focus. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among people aged 15 to 24 in the United States, with nearly an astounding 20 percent of high school students reporting thoughts or idealizations of suicide, and 9 percent actually attempting to take their lives. 

Pride Surveys National Suicide Prevention Month Resources

Pride Surveys National Suicide Prevention Month Resources

In a 2020 study, in the midst of the pandemic, a team of researchers compared the number of suicides among teenagers and children aged between 10 to 19 in 2020 to the average from 2015 to 2019. They then used that data to analyze the totals in relation to suicides across all age groups. The results, unfortunately, showed that adolescents accounted for a larger share of all suicides in 2020 at 6.5 percent more than they did during the five previous years when it was at 5.9 percent. The C.D.C. also reported that in 2020 mental-health-related visits to hospital emergency departments by people between the ages of 12 and 27 were a third higher than when last reported in 2019. Among the general population, suicides actually declined, but not with young people, with a notable spike among the country’s Latinx, Black, and Native American communities.

What’s important for parents to be aware of are the signs and symptoms in their children so they can ask and get help if needed. Parents often worry that asking about suicide may consequentially make it more likely for their children to commit the act or that it will shame their children. However, studies prove that isn’t the case and that asking and letting one’s child know that they see them for where they’re at is crucial in intervention. For teenagers who have difficulty admitting they may need help or maybe don’t even realize how ‘bad’ their mental state is, it sends the message that a parent cares and that asking for help is okay. Warning signs to watch out for if someone is a parent and worried about suicide include isolation from family and friends, problems eating or sleeping, drastic mood swings, recklessness, dropping grades, increased use of alcohol or drugs, talks about feeling hopeless or trapped or being a burden to others. 

Risk factors can make people more vulnerable to suicide, like if a teenager is going through relationship issues, struggling with a mental health disorder, physical health disorder, substance abuse, bullying, a family history of suicide, and access to firearms or prescription pills. 

Resources to reach out to that can help navigate finding support for a child or teen include the Trevor Project, which provides around-the-clock crisis support services to LGBTQ young people, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for those with mental illness, The JED Foundation, a nonprofit that protects emotional health and adolescent suicide prevention for the nation’s teens and young adults, and Mental Health America, which promotes mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all.

If you notice signs and symptoms of adolescent suicide risk, behavioral depression, or stress, it is crucial to reach out to equipped professionals or dial “988” to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. If your community coalition or school requires data collection to determine the mental health issues that may be occurring in your students, please reach out to the Pride Surveys team. We offer a variety of options to fit many needs and resources. 

Resources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lgbtq-youth-discrimination-trauma-may-increase-suicide-risk-by-3-times

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/teen-suicides-increased-many-states-pandemic-rcna25825

https://connect.uclahealth.org/2022/03/15/suicide-rate-highest-among-teens-and-young-adults/#:~:text=Suicide%20is%20the%20second%2Dleading,National%20Alliance%20on%20Mental%20Illness.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/04/11/the-mystifying-rise-of-child-suicide

https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Youth-Suicide

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2022/08/02/a-few-simple-questions-can-help-prevent-suicide

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