(5 Minute Read) Ohio – The latest report from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation indicates suicide as the leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 14 in Ohio in 2019.
Officials explain that they do not have one direct reason they can point to for the increased rates of youth suicide. The research looks at the link between social media and suicide and bullying and suicide. However, officials note, they do not know that youth who spend more time on social media report higher levels of depression. Also, while youth have a lot more pressures today, there are concerns regarding the expectations for you to succeed in terms of grade-point averages. Additionally, experts are theorizing whether or not there is an increased acceptance of suicide in our youth that wasn’t there before.
Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation officials note that while teens are known for being moodier, we (as parents, teachers, and other important people in the lives of youth) must learn the warning signs of suicide so we are aware when it may be something more. Major warning signs include:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
- Seeking a means to kill oneself
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Dramatic mood changes
Officials explain that these warning signs indicate someone may be at immediate risk for suicide and you should seek help without delay.
In 2019, the Ohio House of Representatives voted to pass a bill (HB 123) that would require school districts to assist students in need of support. Should the bill be signed into law, districts will have to establish a threat-assessment team and contract with an anonymous reporting system that operates 24-7. Students, parents, and staff would be able to send in safety tips and report the data to state officials, who already operate a free tip-line service available to all districts. Districts would also be required to train employees and teach students in sixth through 12th grades social inclusion, violence prevention, and how to identify the signs of depression, suicide, and self-harm.