People often associate carefree adventures and unconditional parental love with childhood. However, that is not always the case. A recent trend of suicide and suicidal thoughts in youths has been on the rise over the past couple of years. By the end of 2014, the national suicide rate for children reached a 30-year high. In the last decade, the rate of suicide for girls between the ages of 10-14 increased by threefold.
What’s behind these spikes? Experts cite a number of potential factors, including thwarted dreams due to the 2007-2009 economic downturn, inadequate access to mental health care, and changing cultural norms. Most of these purported explanations do little to explain what’s behind child suicide.
One reason for these statistics could be the rise of social media. Teens and children have constant access to each other through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. While bullying used to be contained between school hours, cyber bullying can happen at any time. It also can easily go unseen by parents and teachers, and is often permanent.
Early intervention could be the key to combatting the rising number of youth suicides. Access to mental health care is vital to helping children cope with a mental illness. Furthermore, mental health issues are treatable – intervention at an early age can prevent those issues from becoming chronic in adulthood.
Read more about the factors behind the child mental health crisis here.