ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Experts say the suicide attempt rates in children between the ages of 10 to 14 have doubled over the last twelve years, with the greatest increase in deaths among girls.
The Chief Psychiatrist for Golisano Children’s Hospital, Dr. Michael Scharf says isolation and showing the lack of meaning in the community are just some of the strong indicators of a child who may be going through tough times.
Dr. Scharf adds that when children and young teens are able to identify supportive adults in their lives, whether it’s a parent, guardian or even a role model, that protective value can prevent the mental health consequences that could occur after specific losses and traumas.
He says, if a parent is worried about their child’s behavior, you know them better than a doctor or psychiatrist, so don’t be afraid to be curious.
“When something’s different, whether you can immediately say, ‘Oh that’s happening because of this issue that happened last week,’ or not, be curious,” Dr. Sharf says. “Be curious to try to understand what’s different and why, and then don’t be satisfied until you have an answer.”
Dr. Scharf adds that parents shouldn’t worry alone either. They should include other adults in the household, grandparents and especially primary care providers, so that the cause of any changes in behavior can be identified.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health issue or thoughts of suicide, you can always call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988. That offers free and confidential support 24/7.