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Teen Suggests Suicide Hotline Be Placed on School IDs

Man holding the hands of a woman struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts  

At an all-boys school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, one 15-year-old took action after recently suffering the loss of a friend to suicide last year. Carson Domey of St. John’s High School suggested placing the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on the back of all student ID cards as a precaution to help prevent suicide and self-harm among his classmates.

“We hope no one has to use it, but it’s there if it’s needed,” said Carson.

Thanks to his actions, a bill now sits in the state senate that would require all schools in Massachusetts to include the number to the Suicide Prevention Hotline on the back of all student ID cards. This change would affect all other counties in the state and could potentially even inspire other states to adopt similar tactics to help increase teen suicide awareness in an age where teen mental health concerns are rising.

Teen Anxiety & Depression on the Rise

Recent statistics for depression among teens show differences between males and females, as well as an overall rise in the number of teens dealing with depression and anxiety. Teen mental health statistics regarding depression and anxiety point to this growing concern:

  • The total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression between 2007 and 2017 increased by 59%.
  • This rate was faster for teen girls (66%) than it was for teen boys (44%).
  • 29% of teens reported feeling tense or nervous about their day every or almost every day.
  • 70% of U.S. teens said anxiety and depression are major problems among their age group in their communities.

Further, depression or other mental health issues in teens can sometimes be accompanied by a co-occurring substance misuse issue, such as with alcohol or marijuana. This means that a teen is dealing with addiction and also struggling with a mental health condition at the same time.

Signs of Depression in Teens

Depression is an illness that affects the brain’s reward centers. Signs of depression in teens include:

  • Overwhelming sadness lasting longer than a few weeks
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities they used to enjoy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Apathy
  • A drop in grades in school
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Co-occurring disorder with substance misuse

Teen Suicide Prevention

With proper attention and resources, teen suicide can be prevented. There are actions parents can take to encourage teen health and wellness and help their teen struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide:

  • Have open, direct conversations with your child about their mental health and about drug use, especially if your teen is turning to substances to cope or self-medicate for mental health concerns.
  • Seek counseling for the teen in distress. This can mean one-on-one sessions between your child and a therapist or family sessions.
  • Inpatient or outpatient rehab from a treatment facility trained in providing mental health services for teens struggling with a co-occurring substance use disorder
  • Limiting access to means of self-harm in your homes, such as securely locking away medication, firearms, and sharp tools
  • Calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, every day
  • Sending a text to “HOME” to 741741 and receive free crisis support and information via SMS

If your teen is struggling with a co-occurring disorder involving depression and substance misuse, Next Generation Village is here to help. Our professionals are trained to provide the resources and care your teen deserves. Reach out today to explore treatment options available to you.

Sources:

Flanagan, Chris. “Teen leads charge to put suicide hotline on student IDs, could expand statewide.” Boston 25 News, Updated September 13, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.

National Institute of Mental Health. “Teen Depression.” Accessed October 4, 2019.

Bilsen, Yohan. “Suicide and Youth: Risk Factors.” Front Psychiatry, October 30, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2019.

Geiger, A.W.; Davis, Leslie. “A growing number of American teenagers—particularly girls—are facing depression.” Pew Research Center, July 12, 2019. Accessed September 17, 2019.

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