What parents can do as rates of youth suicide continue to rise

FARGO, ND. (Valley News Live) - Alarming statistics say suicide is the second leading cause of death for people under the age of 24, and studies suggest suicide rates are continuing to rise.

Youth suicide graphic by MGN. Photo: Pixabay.

The latest concern, a study showing more than 1.6 million children and young adults attempted suicide by poisoning between 2000 to 2018.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Renae Reinardy says there has been an increase in mental illness in children at younger and younger ages.

"We don't know exactly why,” Reinardy said. “It might be the amount of stress, it might be a lot of different environmental or even biological factors."

But she says what we do know is that youth suicide does happen so as parents, it's important to pay attention and know signs to look for.

"Changes in mood, changes in appetite, people might seem more agitated, more restless, more sad and hopeless," Reinardy said.

She also says it's important to be able to have a conversation with your child to find out if there are any underlying issues.

"It's really good to check in with our children to see ‘how are you doing, how are you feeling about that test at school, how are things going with your friends, any problems with kids at school, how are things going with your friends, any problems with kids at school?’ So often we are in such a hussle bussle society that we get very disconnected even as family members."

If you do find that there may be a cause for concern, Dr. Reinardy says to intervene early.

"If you are concerned about your child, it's really important to seek help,” Reinardy said. “Often times, you have a gut feeling that something is going on. Don't ignore that gut feeling."

Dr. Reinardy tells us having conversations, acting early, and seeking professional help could make the difference of a life.

Suicide statistics: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

Study cited: https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(19)30277-X/fulltext

Suicide Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/