September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day so here are some facts about suicide. One issue that we need to address is suicide is a mental health issue for children and teenagers that often is ignored. I hope the information in this article helps you understand the issue of suicide. To start off with, I have included an article where six people describe their suicidal feelings and the help they need http://linkis.com/huffingtonpost.co.uk/AlJc2
In today’s society there has been a significant increase in depression, anxiety and suicide among teenagers and children. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death in children 10 to 18 years old. Yes 10 year old children are committing suicide daily. The increase is significant enough that Netflix is running a series about teenagers feeling suicidal. The show is called 13 reasons why. The suicide rate for teenagers has been increasing yearly. It is increasing faster in teenage girls and is considered an epidemic. It is estimated 800,000 people a year commit suicide and approximately 25 times that attempt suicide (CDC). Again, suicide remains the third leading cause of death for kids 10 to 18 years old and it rises every year (CDC).
In my practice I am seeing more and more children and teens reporting they feel depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. One of the main reasons I hear for these feelings is that children feel a great deal of pressure to succeed in school. I have kids in 5th grade and 6th grade worrying about grades. Not because their parents will get mad because if they don’t get As they wont get into a good college and won’t get a good job and won’t be able to afford a house. They only feel like a success if they can make a lot of money. They don’t even consider how compassionate and caring many of them are and the good they offer our world. In their eyes, compassion is nothing if you are not driving a Mercedes.
This is a great deal for a 5th grader or 6th grader to worry about at their age. It is also a terrible way for them to value theirselves. This is how we create Bullies because compassion is looked at as a weakness.
I also see middle school students and high school students involved in several sports and other activities such as Boy Scouts. The kids are feeling pressured to do extracurricular activities not for fun but for their resume. They are again concerned about getting into a good college and being a success. This pressure is not coming from parents either. It is pressure kids are now placing on themselves.
Recent studies are showing a correlation between lack of fun and time to relax with the increase in depression in children and teenagers. A study in Psychology Today discusses this issue. I have included the link so parents can read this study and think about it. Also so you can look at your children and talk with them. See if they are enjoying life or feeling overwhelmed because they need to succeed. Money pays the bills but doesn’t guarantee happiness https://www.psychologytoday.co.
Many parents are not sure what to look for and do not want to over react. If you notice these signs they are indicators that your teen may be feeling suicidal and needs to be assessed by a mental health clinician. The major warning signs are:
• Aggressive behavior
• Verbal outbursts
• Withdrawal from friends
• Writing or talking about suicide
• Dramatic mood swings
• Reckless behavior
• Refusal to engage in daily responsibilities
• Giving way personal items of worth such as jewelry or furniture
If you notice any of these signs don’t be afraid to ask your teenager if they are feeling suicidal or thinking about suicide. Many people have the misconception that if you ask someone about suicide that you will cause them to think about suicide. This is not true. By asking someone if they are feeling suicidal, you are letting them that it is safe for to talk about their feelings, including suicidal feeling. If someone is feeling suicidal it is essential that they feel safe to talk about their feelings an thoughts. Therefore, asking if your teen if they are feeling suicidal will not hurt them, it can help them to talk and possibly
save their life.
I understand that the topic of suicide is scary and something our
society denies and views it as there is something wrong with
anyone feeling suicidal. But the truth is, it is a mental health
issue and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is also an epidemic for
teenagers. If we want to prevent the number of suicides from
rising and help teenagers who are currently feeling suicidal,
we must talk openly about suicide and seek mental health care for
teenagers who are feeling suicidal.
Dr. Michael Rubino is an expert psychotherapist who works with children and teenagers for over 20 years. For more information about Dr. Rubino and his work visit his website http://www.RubinoCounseling.com