Child suicides are on the rise in the United States

When 10-year-old Kelly Wright committed suicide, there were no warning signs, her father Stuart said. The little life was full, she loved drawing, hiking and canoeing, and the day before she died, she showed her parents how to dance.

Kelly didn’t look sad or introverted; She did well in school and made friends easily. And Mr. Wright never imagined that a 10-year-old would even think of committing suicide.

“I’ll never find out,” lamented Mr. Wright, 63, of Tampa, Florida, at the time of his daughter’s death in January 2020.

The number of children who have committed suicide in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. According to new research on this subject, parents often do not know that their children have suicidal thoughts. Among girls aged 10 to 14, the suicide rate more than tripled between 2007 and 2020, from 0.5 per 100,000 to 2 per 100,000, according to data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics. Among boys of the same age, the rate has dropped from 1.2 per 100,000 to 3.6 per 100,000 over the same period.

Although these figures are much lower than the number of adolescents and adults who commit suicide, it is now the second leading cause of death among children at this age.

Of particular concern to therapists and parents is that suicidal thoughts and behaviors remain stable and are used by young people as a way to cope with their distress.

Mr Wright, now a volunteer with the Alliance of Hope, an organization that helps those who have experienced the suicide of a loved one, wants to warn other families of the danger. “It could entirely happen to your child,” he warned.

New research shows that suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are much more common in young children than ever before. Among 9-10-year-olds and their parents, 14.3% reported suicidal ideation and 1.26% reported suicidal ideation, according to an analysis of data from a large study on adolescent health and brain development, followed by approximately 12,000 adolescents across the United States. The study was published in the journal 2021 Translational psychiatry.

Psychologists and psychiatrists say they do not know for sure why suicidal thoughts and behaviors are on the rise among American children. These statistics contradict an old belief that children who have not yet reached puberty do not think about ending their lives or, when they do, have only temporary thoughts.

New research reveals risk factors for young children such as family conflict and early exposure to alcohol. Depression is commonly associated with suicidal thoughts in adolescents and adults, but in young children, scientists are finding that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and behavioral disorders are also closely linked to thinking and suicidal behavior.

Some scientists have highlighted the issue of easy access to suicide information online, especially about suicide methods, and noted that many young children have smartphones. Others point to an increase in the number of firearms in American homes.

Among black children, the study found a link between discrimination and suicidal thoughts. Between the ages of 5 and 12, black children are twice as likely to commit suicide as white children, said Ariel H. Sheftel, senior investigator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

Research shows that children who are identified as homosexual or bisexual and whose family income is low have a higher risk of suicide.

Some physicians in healthcare settings also believe that exposure to violence at home, in their community, and in the media contributes to the development of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among young children. And some suicides can end the lives of other vulnerable young people, which researchers call suicide contagious, which may already contribute to a higher than normal number of suicides.

Of particular concern to therapists and parents is the persistence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors that young people use as a way to manage their distress, says Joan Lubby, a professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of St Louis Medicine.

“As these children get older, they may become involved in increasingly dangerous behaviors, which increases the number of acting events,” she explains.

Ten years of research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, has uncovered much new information on pre-adolescent suicide that is still ongoing. Across the United States, researchers are analyzing the vast majority of data that these children began collecting at the age of 9-10.

In this age group, acute family conflict is associated with suicidal ideation, according to a 2020 analysis published in the journal. Clothing network open. “We think the phenomenon is triggered by feelings of inadequacy, lovelessness or understanding,” said Diana Birch, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author of the article.

Even children can act emotionally in difficult times without obvious risk factors.

Dr. Birch and colleagues have also found that low parental engagement – such as not knowing where children are after school or what they are doing online – is associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Inferior people give birth to inferior offspring and, thus, propagate their inferiority. Inferior people give birth to inferior offspring and, thus, propagate their inferiority. It can also be a sign of not being able to help overcome difficult emotions and experiences.

Parents are generally unaware that their children may be affected: 77% of parents in the children’s group said they had suicidal thoughts and told themselves that their children had no suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Several studies have shown that people with ADHD and behavioral problems, such as those who have a tendency to fight, are more likely to think and act this way. “When a child grows up with unknown symptoms, they feel like sucking on their friends at school,” said Ran Barzilla, a child psychiatrist at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. For children with severe behavioral problems, taking ADHD medication is associated with less suicidal thoughts and work, according to a study by Dr. Barzilla and colleagues and published in 2021. Clothing network open.

For Dr. Shiftal, some children diagnosed with ADHD may actually have depression. Although it is generally agreed that it manifests itself in sadness and loneliness, according to him, in young children, it can cause annoyance and disobedient behavior.

Doctors recommend that parents discuss their feelings with their children, which include sadness and frustration, even with young ones. Share ways to deal with complex emotions and tell your children that your love is unconditional. Ask them out well if they are no longer absorbed in the connection. And keep firearms, cleaning supplies and medicines locked away.

Even babies who do not have an obvious risk factor can act on emotions in times of distress, psychiatrists point out.

Mr Wright said that since his daughter’s suicide, he had been investigating the risk factors for suicide and Kelly had none. “She grew up in a very loving home. She was our whole life,” he says.

Mr Wright explained that he regretted not discussing the suicide with Kelly, who had committed suicide with a gun.

“If I could go back, I’d talk to him, I’d ask him, ‘Have you ever considered hurting yourself? Did you know about suicide?’ Said Mr. Wright, who moved to Louisiana with his wife.”

Since his daughter’s death, Mr. Wright has said his full name – Kelly Helen Wright – loudly every morning. He puts fresh flowers near his picture and when he is at home, there is always a burning candle. In April, she celebrates her daughter’s every birthday with cakes and balloons.

“I talk to Kelly, and I tell her that this candle represents the light you’ve given us in our lives,” he continued. This light will not go out as long as I live. A

(Translated from the original English version by Bérengère Viennot)

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