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Broken Bone, NE: 8% of 9 to 10 year olds have suicidal thoughts; 2% have attempted suicide

Mar 13, 2020, Broken Bone, NE, Sandhills Express: New study says 8% of children have suicidal thoughts
Eight percent of 9- and 10-year-olds reported suicidal thoughts and 2% reported a suicide attempt, according to a new study of 8,000 children in the U.S., published in Lancet Psychiatry. Suicide is a major public health concern and the second-leading cause of death in youth after unintentional injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 30% increase in suicides in the United States in the past decade, with rates increasing in all age groups. The rates of emergency room visits for adolescents and children complaining of suicidal thoughts have also increased over the past years. “In the past, a child’s statements about suicidal thoughts might have been taken lightly or ignored, however, now, schools and parents are taking seriously the very real rise in the suicide rate in children and adolescents,” said Dr. Alexander Sanchez, a psychiatrist working in the psychiatric emergency room in New York City, who was not involved in the study. … Traumatic childhood experiences correlate with an increased suicide risk. If a child has to manage their trauma on their own without the help of an adult, their suicide risk rises…. In fact, research has shown that social support in school is more important than peer support in preventing suicidal thoughts and behavior. While not all counselors are equipped to mitigate risk, “the child’s complaints should be taken seriously. They may not have the best words or actions to express themselves, but they do know how they’re feeling” added Sanchez. School is an important place for screening children for suicidal behaviors and providing preventive education and risk management when needed. … Statistics show that children involved with school sports reported significantly lower rates of suicidal ideation and behavior than their counterparts, and the associations were most notable for those most involved in school sports. Parental involvement is very important in preventing suicide risk, the new study found. Sudden changes in mood, isolation from friends and family, excessive sleeping, being a victim of bullying and a change in eating patterns are some signs for parents to watch for that might indicate their child is contemplating suicide. “Try to let children know that they’re being listened to. Give them a safe space to communicate and make sure they don’t feel judged by whatever they reveal,” said Sanchez. The study identifies important risk and protective factors associated with childhood suicidal behavior which could be used to identify vulnerable children and plan interventions to promote mental health in school and at home.


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