Youth suicide rates on the rise

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – More of our Kentucky kids are trying to kill themselves now than just ten years ago.

University of Kentucky psychologist Alissa Briggs says since 2009 suicide rates have steadily increased 32% from 2009 to 2018.

In 2019, Briggs says nearly 20-percent of Kentucky high schoolers and 20-percent of middle school students seriously considered taking their lives.

CDC data shows the pandemic has impacted kids nationwide as well. In 2020, there was a 24-percent increase in emergency room visits for mental health reasons for kids aged 5 through 11 and more than a 30-percent increase for kids between 12 and 17.

“It is having a huge impact on young people and I think, unfortunately, we don’t think often to ask elementary school kids about depression and thoughts about ending their life,” Briggs says.

Briggs says don’t be afraid to ask your kids about suicide. It won’t give them the idea. She says instead, being open will let them speak freely.

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