Self-reported suicide among black American teens have increased. This was reported in a recent study published in the medical journal, Pediatrics. A survey was conducted among more than 198,000 students from ninth to 12th grade that ran from 1991 to 2017. In the survey, the participants were given four questions regarding suicidal thoughts and related behaviors.
It was alarming that the suicide attempts from black teens have increased. Please take note however that the overall report shows a decrease in suicide attempts. This includes white teens, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
According to the study, there might be multiple reasons for the result. The first one is the accessibility to mental health treatment. It is said that black teens are less likely to receive treatment compared to other people such as white teens. Poverty and racial discrimination are to be blamed as well.
Let us remember that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 19. It is only proper to address how we can help them with their challenges.
How do we help people with suicidal thoughts
Don’t belittle their problems
You might think that their problems are too shallow but you have to remember that we are all different. A simple problem for some might be complex for your kids. Don’t let their challenges consume them. Instead, try to reach out even before the problem gets big. We know that work can be sometimes overwhelming and you just want to rest when you reach home. But it’s the perfect time to sit down with your teens, talk to them about their day, and observe if something is bothering them.
Genuinely listen to your teens
When you are having a conversation with your teens, it is both important that you listen not just to what they say but also to how they act. You see, body language speaks louder and you have to watch out for it. Maybe they are saying something but their actions tell otherwise. If you think they are on the verge of hurting themselves, make sure that they are not alone.
Take their threats seriously
You might think they are just goofing around or joking, but suicidal attempts should be taken seriously. These are already clear signs that they need and want help.
Get professional help
Don’t waste time and get professional help right away. You shouldn’t wait for them to hurt themselves. You have to act on it even before it happens.
Tell them to go out and socialize
When you are having suicidal thoughts, it is important that you spend time with other people. But make sure that these are good ones. Why don’t you encourage your teens to go out with families and friends? However, be cautious because you wouldn’t want to be too pushy as well.
Invite them to exercise
Lastly, encourage them to do physical activities as well. Exercising can definitely help one’s mood. It is recommended for people suffering from mild and moderate depression. You can invite your teens to jog around the park with you. At least you have time together, and at the same time, he or she is releasing happy hormones which is beneficial to the condition.