Suicide among our youth is rising
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suicide attempts and death in young children, 11 and younger, has risen close to 15% in recent years.
Stephanie Holschbach, a psychiatry nurse practitioner, refers to a recent study, conducted by Facebook, which discusses the negative effect Instagram has on adolescent females, such as their self-image and body image, resulting in increased anxiety and depression.
“Anxiety and depression are risk indicators related to attempted and/or completed suicide,” Holschbach said. “Because social media has become such an integral part of life for people of all ages, this study is significant, as it shows substance behind the argument to limit social media exposure. Educating adolescents and parents on the risks associated with excessive social media exposure may help decrease suicide attempts and/or completions among this at-risk population.”
Substance abuse also impacts adolescent anxiety and depression. Activities like drug consumption, vaping and underage drinking all contribute to a young person’s mental health.
“Accidental or intentional overdose is a concern with active general substance use. Effects from substances tend to worsen pre-existing depression and/or anxiety which may result in increased suicide attempts and/or completion,” says Holschbach.
How can family, friends and parents talk to our youth? The following questions can provide assurance that somebody cares and will give them the chance to talk about problems:
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?
- Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?
Any child or adolescent with suicidal thoughts or plans should be evaluated immediately by a trained and qualified mental health professional.
About the Author
Amy Werdin, health enews contributor, is a provider public affairs coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. She has been with the organization for 19 years, starting out in marketing for Advanced Healthcare, then Aurora Health Care and now in her current role. She enjoys reading, movies and watching her two daughters dance and her son swim.