Suicide attempts by poisoning more than double in teens

Mental health professionals are sounding the alarm.

A new study about teenage suicide turns up a troubling new trend: more adolescents intentionally poisoning themselves and looking at the information from poison control centers, girls are especially at risk.

Experts say this is a new generation and we need to approach the problem differently than in the past. Getting it out on the open is key.

Experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center detected the alarming trend.

"After 2011, something happened in this young age group and it's dramatic. Suicide rates that were flat for more than a decade suddenly began to increase and increase 200, 300 percent.," says Dr. Henry Spiller of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Another cause for concern: researchers at the hospital found suicide attempts by intentional self-poisoning more than doubled.
That increase is mostly driven by girls under the age of 19. They accounted for 71-percent of cases, largely with self-overdoses with over-the-counter or prescription medication.

"This is essentially a crisis in adolescence and we need to address this," says Spiller.

Reversing the trend needs to be a community effort, with healthcare providers screening for depression.

Teachers, kids and parents need to be aware and look for changes in behavior. Parents should ask their kids how they're feeling, if they're feeling down, or thinking about suicide.

As we reduce the stigma and increase the comfort around these difficult conversations we will absolutely make a difference," says John Ackerman, Ph.D.
And experts will tell you that asking someone if they're thinking about suicide is not going to give them any ideas.

If anything, it's going to help them open up and ask for help if they need it.

The suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255 or you can text 741-741.

Nationwide Children's Hospital has a gateway for finding help at On Our Sleeves.

To reach the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, CLICK HERE.
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