Suicide rate among kids, teens at alarming high - KCTV5 News

Suicide rate among kids, teens at alarming high

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File photo. Suicide Prevention Ribbon. (AP) File photo. Suicide Prevention Ribbon. (AP)

KCTV5 News spoke with local doctors about alarming new rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among kids and teens.

The numbers are shocking. The amount of young people considering killing themselves has doubled.

Between 2008 and 2015, researchers looked at 32 children's hospitals across the country. Nearly 120,000 kids and teens had been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions. 

Doctors say suicide rates follow the cycle of the school year, so that rate is the highest right now because students are back in class.

Typically, they’re down when school lets out in the spring, then they go back up in the fall.  

Sadly, doctors say it shows the school experience drives a lot of the students’ suicidal thoughts and they attribute much of that to social media use. 

This is the first generation of children who grew up in a world of online networks from the moment they’re born.

So, the big question is: What can parents do to protect their kids?

A doctor at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City spoke about some of the things that parents can look out for in their child’s life that could lead them to suicidal thoughts.

“If they know their child is going through a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend or things are suddenly not going well in school, signs of substance abuse – you need to be very alert,” Dr. Bob Batteryson, a Children’s Mercy Hospital Psychiatrist, said.

They say the most common reasons children think about suicide include:

  • Experiencing depression
  • Experiencing family violence
  • Being abused
  • Struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Being bullied, or cyberbullied on social media.

Batteryson said the toughest part about childhood suicide is their young brains aren’t fully developed and don’t fully understand the choice they’re making. New research on that will be presented this weekend at the National 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.

For more information about risk factors for and warning signs of suicide, click here

If you are feeling suicidal or need to talk to someone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the country, for free and they will listen to you. The number is 1-800-273-8255.

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