Suicidal thoughts increasing in teens

New research indicates suicidal thoughts are on the rise among teens and young adults. The February 3rd issue of the Wall Street Journal (Apple News) recently published a great article titled “What Parents Can Do When Kids Have Suicidal Thoughts” by Andrea Petersen. Undoubtedly this trend has grown during the pandemic. A June 2020 survey reported that 25.5% of 18-24 year olds had seriously considered suicide during the last 30 days. Weekly emergency room visits for suspected suicide rose 50.6% among 12-17 year old girls in March 2021 when compared to the same period in 2019. Certain behaviors are linked to an imminent risk of a child’s suicide attempt which includes a sharp rise in the time spent at home and a dramatic increase in the use of negative words in texts and social-media posts. Most kids don’t act on those thoughts but we can better understand those most at risk and what we can do to help. Parents can reduce risk by openly asking teens about their feelings. A conversation you should have many times. Warning signs to take seriously include increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from usual activities, changes in sleep patterns and other behavioral changes.