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Study Finds Significant Increase In Suicide Attempts By Self-Poisoning

Nationwide Children's Hospital

Columbus City Schools are working with Children's Hospital to provide mental health counselors on school campuses for students who have permission from their parents.  The "Signs of Suicide Prevention" program teaches for middle and high schoolers how to spot suicidal behavior.   And a new study out of Columbus shows more young people are trying to commit suicide by self-poisoning.  Mike Foley reports.

The analysis from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center found that rates of suicide attempts by self-poisoning among adolescents have more than doubled in the last decade in the U.S. The rate more than tripled for girls and young women. In the 19-year time frame of the study that ended last year, there were more than 1.6 million intentional suspected-suicide self-poisoning cases in youth and young adults. More than 71% of those were female. The study’s authors urge parents and those who care for youth to check in regularly with their children, ask them directly how they’re doing and if they’ve ever had thoughts about ending their life. Those direct questions are even more essential if warning signs are observed. John Ackerman is a clinical psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator and co-author of the study.

“We need to have a dialogue about this so that kids who are encountering this at a young age get that help early through screening, through conversation, and through check-ups,” Ackerman said. “That is a critical point of contact that can help a young person be identified and supported many years before they typically do get supported. As we reduce the stigma and increase the comfort around these difficult conversations, we will absolutely make a difference.”   

Ackerman suggests the online resource On Our Sleeves as a helpful starting point for parents to increase the dialogue. A link to the full study can be found here. The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research has more information here

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