The pandemic aftermath: Suicides increase among teens

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s a staggering statistic: Teen suicide attempts among girls are up over 50%.

Health leaders say the pandemic is creating more than just physical illness. Now, many teenagers are experiencing a crisis of their own.

“During 2020 the proportion of mental-health emergency department visits among 12 to 17-year-olds increased 31 percent compared to 2019,” said Bill Crouch, Secretary, WV Dept. of Health & Human Resources during the state’s coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

“All teens are having frustrations because they can’t do the things they did to make themselves feel worthwhile, or feel useful, or feel connected. Sports, clubs, going to church, just the things that let them not have to stay inside their heads,” said Dr. David Clayman, a Clinical Forensic Psychologist.

Experts say, although sometimes you may not notice signs in your teen or child, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. “They sometimes have prolonged sadness that doesn’t get better. They sometimes will manifest behaviors such as irritability which could be masking depression,” added Clayman.

And there are resources available to anyone who may be struggling. “If you, your children, or your grandchildren are experiencing severe, emotional distress. Help is available. You can reach out to HELP304. Which is available 24-7. And 1-877-HELP-304.”

Clayman says that parents should be open to conversations with their teens about mental health because, although times can be tough, it’s not worth losing a life. “For almost all of the adolescents that I know there is a lot of more life out there waiting for them if they can get through the crisis.”

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255.

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