DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Doctors across North Texas are warning about an alarming rise in the number of children attempting suicide.
In September, Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth treated 37 children and teens for suicide attempts, marking the worst month on record since at least 2015.
“We’re seeing the kids struggle with the adjustment to virtual school, and the stress for parents having to figure out how to home school,” said Dr. Kia Carter, medical director of Psychiatry at Cook Children’s.
Dr. Carter said the hospital typically see higher numbers in the fall months when kids return to school, but the pandemic is adding extra stress. She pointed to parents dealing with job losses and financial stress saying, “Kids can sense the pressure”.
Among the warning signs Dr. Carter said you should look out for:
– Declining grades
– Changes in eating or sleeping habit
– A lack of concern about appearance or hygiene
At Children’s Medical Center Dallas, clinical therapist and licensed professional counselor Dr. Roshini Kumar said she’s seen an increase in young patients being treated for depression and anxiety. She told CBS 11 News that checking in with your kids is a necessity.
“I really recommend that families have a consistent time of day when they all check in with each other,” she said. “Around the dinner table is a really good one.” She also suggested parents share their emotions to model how their children can express their own feelings.
Remember, help is always available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).