(NBC News) New research shows a growing number of young people are thinking about taking their own lives, and the study suggests school stress may play a role.
Vanderbilt University researchers say the rates of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts have doubled since 2008, and the problem seems to spike in the fall.
It’s unclear whether the problem is school stress or that teachers are paying attention and referring kids for help, but until more is known, outside experts say schools should actively teach kids how to manage and cope with stress.
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics said doctors should routinely screen children over the age of 12 for depression, and the best advice for parents is simply to talk with kids.
“There is this fear that if you talk about suicide or you talk about depression that somehow you’ll encourage kids to do that, and we know that’s not the case,” said Dr. Greg Plemmons of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Warning signs teenagers might need professional help for depression include changes in appetite, sleep problems and a lack of interest in friends.