INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Suicide attempts increased significantly for adolescents during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But, new evidence shows girls between ages 12-17 are struggling at a much higher rate than boys of the same age.
Scientists assessed over 100,000 suicide-related hospitalizations. They found the number of suspected suicide attempts as measured by mental health emergency visits was 26% higher in girls than boys in winter 2020. This increased to a shocking 51% higher rate in 2021 compared to the same time the previous year.
News 8 spoke with Kimble Richardson, licensed mental health counselor at Community Health. She explains what signs to look for should you suspect a child is suffering.
“Most people who are depressed are sad and will look sad and will sometimes even cry uncontrollably,” Richardson said. “In children, we think logically if they’re sad … well, they’ll cry, or you’ll notice they look down and depressed.
But in teens, it’s different. Richardson says depression looks like anger and agitation. So, if you notice your once lighthearted, easy-going teen gradually turning moody and quick to react, pay attention.
Then, Richardson recommends, pointing out the behavior and saying to your teen, “I notice something different about you and I’d like to talk to you about it because I care about you and I care what happens to you.” It’s just as a way to get the conversation going.
Mental health resources
- NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Be Well Indiana Crisis Helpline: 211
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mental health webpage