CHILDREN, TEENAGER, AND YOUNG ADULT SUICIDE
After the COVID-19 Pandemic, children, teenagers, and young adult suicide is at a record high. Before the Pandemic suicide among young people ages 10-24 was at a record high of being the third leading cause of death. Today it is now at the alarming rate of being the second leading cause of death among our young people in this age group.
The normal challenges that our young people faced have been amplified by the isolation and distancing caused by Pandemic. These challenges that may cause suicidal thoughts are increased feelings of stress, pressure to succeed in school, self-doubt, changing family dynamics, pressure to fit in socially, moving to a new community, not being able to have a social life and to see friends, increased sexual feelings to include sexual identity issues, etc.
- Changes in eating and/or sleeping
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Losing interests in favorite activities
- Violent actions, rebellious behavior, and running away
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Neglect of personal hygiene and appearance
- Marked personality change (a flat affect)
- Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
- Frequent complaints about physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches (often relating to emotions)
- Not tolerating praise, compliments or rewards.
- Give verbal hints such as: “I won’t be a problem for you much longer” “nothing matters” “it’s no use”
- Giving away personal possessions, clean his/ her room, throw away important belongings
- Become suddenly happy and cheerful after a period of depression or sadness
What to Do…
- Talk about it. Don’t be reluctant to ask the question in fear of causing suicide to happen. This is a myth. By talking about it you may make him/her feel less alone and more cared about and help to see that there are other solutions besides death.
- Listen without being judgmental. If there is immediate danger stay with the child.
- Safely secure all medications and weapons in your home.
- Get help immediately!
- Talk with a therapist who is specifically trained in helping with depression.
- In an emergency, you can call 911 or
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Available 24 Hours 800-273-8255
Anne Trapp Shirley is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Clinical Supervisor in Orlando, Florida. She has 20 years of experience encouraging clients by sending a message of hope that they can overcome life’s obstacles that get in the way of living their best life!