Teen suicide. It's not an easy topic to discuss, but something that should be on every parent's radar. According to a recent story in Time magazine, suicide rates are up among all demographics.
However, the increase has been even more sharp among teens - particularly teenage girls, who attempt suicide more often than boys.
If this trend isn't alarming enough, research in the Journal of Pediatrics found that attempting suicide by poisoning - either intentional drug overdoses or by intaking another toxin doubled between 2000 and 2018 in those younger than 19.
While the reason behind this surge is not cut and dry, the authors of the study believe that how kids today interact with one another - through technology and social media - could play a role, as does the opioid crisis.
They point to research showing that parents with substance abuse issues often are more likely to have children who experience mood disorders.
The American Psychological Association recommends parents openly and honestly talk to their teens about suicide - expressing any concerns. It is a myth that bringing up the topic of suicide risks planting the idea.
The Association also encourages parents to listen earnestly to their child’s thoughts on suicide and help their child maintain connections with friends and loved ones to prevent feelings of isolation.
Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for help – and if the situation feels dire, call 9-1-1 or go to the local emergency room.
Suicide is a tragedy we all must work to prevent.