Teen Suicide is “Skyrocketing”

October 22nd, 2019

report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the teen suicide rate in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years.  Between 2007 and 2017, teen suicides spiked by nearly 56 percent — the rate climbing from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people to 10.6. Suicide was recently ranked as the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. “Accidents” ranked as the leading cause of teen and young adult death. “Even though the study by the CDC demonstrates an increased rate of completed suicide in the adolescent, young adult age group, I still think we need to recognize that suicide may be underreported, and that accidents continue to be the leading cause of death and a significant number of those accidents may actually have been suicide,” Dr. Victor M. Fornari, the vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, told Healthline. What has caused this spike? Today’s students are struggling with a variety of issues inside and outside the classroom – school shootings, climate change, personal economics, world affairs, bullying, ect. According to a recent study, teenagers named depression as a problem among their peers. Others blamed their anxiety on politics or climate change.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have been diagnosed with anxiety. And, 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have been diagnosed with depression.  These numbers have increased over time. They state, “Ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression among children aged 6–17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012.” Other studies indicate that the rate of major depressive episodes among 12- to 17-year-olds has increased 52% since 2005. And, 1 in 6 children aged 2-8 years-old has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. What can adults do to help? Fornari says we need to address teen suicide in the same way we address other public health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer: We come up with screening methods to get ahead of the problem and prevent it from worsening. “In addition to depression screening, which is already incorporated into the pediatric well visit for adolescents, we really have to do direct suicide screening,” Fornari explained. Parents and peers can also keep an eye out for personality changes. If an adolescent becomes increasingly withdrawn or tired, experiences sudden anxiety, and/or expresses a desire to self-injure, have an open discussion with the teen and suggest speaking to a healthcare professional. If you know someone who is in a serious mental health crisis, please encourage your friend to contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Did you know that exercise can help alleviate depression? Fitness for Health believes that a strong mind-body connection can improve your health and wellness. Learn more about Fitness for Health at www.FitnessForHealth.org.]]>

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