Keller, TX: Thoughts of suicide/self-harm in children doubled between 2008 and 2015

Jan 26, 2018, Fort Worth (TX) Star—Telegram: Students are ‘crippled by anxiety’ and ‘crying out for help.’ Educators hear them Phrases like “I want to die” or “they’d be better off without me” are being echoed too often by students and Keller school district officials are developing a framework for social and emotional learning to help. “There’s definitely been an uptick in kids who are just crippled by anxiety and feeling overwhelmed,” said Shannon Jenkins, coordinator of elementary counseling for the Keller district. “They’re crying out for help in the only way they know how.” … On Jan. 31, a committee of Keller school administrators will conduct its first meeting to begin building a plan to address these social and emotional issues. The group also will include students, staff, parents and community members. The number of children between ages 5 and 17 who were hospitalized for thoughts of suicide or serious self-harm doubled between 2008 and 2015, according to a 2017 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. … Suicide or self-harming behavior are the worst-case scenarios in a wide range of issues educators see today, from anxiety and depression to a lack of self-control, social isolation and bullying. … Experts say that today’s students are more likely to be stressed, depressed or disconnected from school than they were a few years ago — mostly because of high expectations that come with the fast-paced and plugged-in world in which we live. “Students are coming in with trauma in their backgrounds, or self-esteem issues, anxiety or self-harm,” Jenkins said. “We have to be sure in what kinds of support we’re giving so needs are being met developmentally in our community and in the classroom.”  Many young people don’t know how to work well in groups and lack basic interpersonal skills. … Like Keller, other area school districts are increasing their focus on developing social and emotional skills in students.