Rising Suicides and Depression Among Children Highlight the Importance of Open Communication
The prevalence of mental health issues, including depression, among children is leading to a troubling increase in suicides. It is crucial that we foster an environment where children feel comfortable discussing their emotions and mental well-being.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in May that revealed suicide as one of the leading causes of death among children and young people. Shockingly, there has been a significant rise in suicidal tendencies and actions among this age group. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) corroborates this trend, showing a fivefold increase in emergency room visits related to youth suicide from 2011 to 2020, despite no significant change in overall ER visits.
This issue is not unique to the United States. In Korea, the number of children aged 6 to 11 receiving treatment for depression has skyrocketed by a staggering 91.5% from 2018 to 2022. During this period, over 800 elementary, middle, and high school students resorted to extreme measures.
Effective Communication: A Key Preventative Measure
Parents play a vital role in preventing their children from succumbing to tragic circumstances. Everyday Health, a prominent health information media outlet, suggests that open and honest conversations about suicide and mental health can help deter extreme choices. Creating a safe space where individuals can openly discuss their mental well-being and emotions is paramount. Furthermore, it is crucial to emphasize that having suicidal thoughts does not make someone abnormal or unworthy of help.
Addressing the Topic with Younger Children
Parents may shy away from discussing suicide with their young children due to its sensitive nature. However, Dr. Joanna Quigley, an outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist, stresses the importance of broaching the subject at an early age when comprehension may be challenging. By familiarizing children with the possibility of such struggles and emphasizing the availability of support within their social circle, parents can pave the way for open dialogue and seek assistance if needed.
Fostering Safe Environments for Emotional Expression
An integral part of preventing mental health issues is creating an atmosphere where children feel comfortable discussing their emotions, including depression, on a regular basis. Parents or primary caregivers should pay close attention to their child’s moods and encourage open communication about any mental challenges, just as they would regarding physical health concerns.
To facilitate these conversations, it can be beneficial to establish a safe space where children can freely express themselves without fear of judgment or repercussions. Professor Michael Lindsay from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work highlights the importance of non-judgmental dialogue and suggests initiating discussions during relaxed family moments, such as after dinner.
Assuring Help is Available
Through dialogue, children must understand that their parents and those around them are available to assist when they encounter difficulties. It is essential to convey that confiding in a trusted adult when feeling overwhelmed or suicidal is not a sign of weakness or aberration. Removing the stigma attached to seeking help can be immensely beneficial.
While discussing the topic of suicide, it is crucial to choose words carefully to avoid inadvertently burdening children. Statements like “be a man” or “keep family matters internal” exert undue pressure and discourage open communication.
Recognizing Your Readiness and Seeking Professional Help
Before engaging in a conversation with your children, it is vital to evaluate your own readiness and qualification to address the subject. Inadequate preparation may cause anxiety or burden your children. Only proceed if you can maintain a calm and neutral demeanor regardless of the discussion. If you suspect your child may react strongly or be emotionally affected, it is advisable to seek assistance from a pediatrician or mental health professional.
Suicides are increasing along with depression among children… Sharing emotions through conversation and trust is important.
Entered 2023.09.17 12:10 Views 4 Entered 2023.09.17 12:10 Modified 2023.09.17 09:44 Views 4
In order to prevent the increasing number of suicides among children, it is important to strive to communicate comfortably about emotions and mental health.[사진=게티이미지뱅크]Threatening mental health due to depression is no longer just a problem for adults. These days, the number of children suffering from various problems such as depression and even making extreme choices is increasing significantly.
According to a report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among children and young people, although it is not common. In particular, increasing research results show that suicidal impulses and behavior among children and young people have increased. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last May, there was no significant change in the total number of visits to emergency rooms from 2011 to 2020, but the number of visits related to youth suicide increased fivefold . .
This is not just an American problem. According to data presented by Representative Kim Won-i of the Democratic Party of Korea on the 7th from the Ministry of Education and the National Health Insurance Corporation, the number of people aged 6 to 11 receiving treatment for depression in Korea increased by astonishing. 91.5%, from 1,849 in 2018 to 3,541 in 2022. During this period, there were more than 800 elementary, middle and high school students who made extreme choices.
Is there anything parents can do to prevent their children from choosing terrible tragedies? Everyday Health, an American health information media outlet, presented that proper conversations with children about suicide and mental health can go a long way in preventing extreme choices. The key is to create an environment where people can comfortably talk about their mental health and how they feel, and allow people to accept that even if they have suicidal thoughts, it’s not a big problem.
Are elementary school students too young to talk about ‘suicide’?
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life because one cannot bear the pain. Many parents feel pressured to bring the topic of suicide into the conversation. In particular, many people decide it’s better to wait until they’re a little older, thinking it’s too heavy a subject to talk about with young children. Dr Joanna Quigley, an outpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist in Madison, Michigan, pointed out that it is particularly important to talk about suicide at an age when it is still difficult to understand. He emphasized that the first step in helping children take care of themselves is letting children know in advance that something like this can happen to anyone and making them realize that people around them can help them deal with problems and resolve when they arise.
The explanation is that explaining what suicide is and talking about it does not increase the risk of a child thinking about suicide or harming themselves. In the case of a child who is considering suicide, giving a clear name to what he is thinking and letting him or her know that he or she can talk about it out loud can provide relief and open the door to sharing himself. her concerns.
Let’s talk about our feelings in a safe place
It is important to create an environment where children can talk about mental health and emotions, such as depression, on a daily basis. If parents or primary carers monitor their child’s mood every day and share their thoughts about it, children will be able to open up easily to their parents about mental problems, just like when they catch a cold or are injured.
To achieve this, it can be useful to create a space where children can feel safe. Michael Lindsay, a professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, said, “If you create a non-judgmental and safe conversation space where children can share their thoughts and feelings freely without any repercussions, they will feel more comfortable opens up. ” It is a good idea to try to have a conversation after dinner or at a time when the family is relaxing.
“We’re by your side”, letting you know that help is available
Through conversation, it is important to let children know and trust that their parents and those around them can help when they have a problem. Also, we need to make children realize that when they feel they are not worth living, it is okay to tell their parents or primary carers and that there is no problem. Making it clear that feeling suicidal doesn’t make you a weird or bad person can be really helpful.
As the subject of suicide is not a light one, we must be careful not to choose words or sentences that may unknowingly burden children. Telling boys to “act like a man” or stressing girls to “solve matters within the family first” out of concern about rumors etc. can put pressure on children and make them keep quiet.
Wondering if I have the right to talk to you
Before having a conversation with your children, you need to take time to think if you are ready and qualified to have this conversation. If you talk out of touch when you are not ready at all, your children may become anxious and feel a burden. Your child is only ready to talk about suicide if they can maintain a calm and neutral expression no matter what they say. If you feel your child may be in shock or have an emotional reaction to what you say, it is best to seek help from a pediatrician or mental health professional rather than taking action yourself .
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