September was National Suicide Prevention month, with Thursday the 10th being World Suicide Prevention Day. My hope is that this article is not the first time you are hearing of this as the news and social media have done a good job at shedding light on this serious mental health crisis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 in 2018. Moreover the Washington Post cited that from 2007 to 2017, the number of suicides among people ages 10 to 24 increased 56 percent. This data is alarming to say the least. Not only is it worrisome that suicide is on the rise among our youth, but it is also scary that experts do not know why this is happening. Some theories point to lack of sleep, bullying, social media, and drugs, but the problem is too complex to name just one cause.
The best way to combat this mental health crisis is to be informed. Knowing the signs of a teen in crisis is critical. Stanford Children’s Health lists these warning signs: Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits, unexplained or unusually severe, violent, or rebellious behavior, withdrawal from family or friends, sexual promiscuity, truancy, and vandalism, drastic personality change, agitation, restlessness, distress, or panicky behavior, talking or writing about committing suicide, even jokingly, giving away prized possessions, and/or doing worse in school.
If you notice any of the warning signs listed above here is what you can do:
If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, call the 24-hour, toll-free, confidential, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).