Mental health town hall held in Phoenix to address increase of youth suicides
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- To raise awareness about the growing number of suicides among young people across the Valley, advocates came together on Monday night in a mental health town hall at Christ Lutheran School in Phoenix. In the last month, a student from Brophy College Preparatory and one from Mountain Ridge High School died by suicide.
Speakers shared signs parents can look for if their child may be suffering from a mental health crisis. Some signs include sensitivity to rejection or failure, low self-esteem, threats or attempts to run away from home, or changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Advocates also said in this day and age of technology, young kids and teens also have easy access to the internet, which could play a role in their mental well-being. On average, children spend six to eight hours a day in front of a screen.
“If we’re going to hand over a device at age 12 and say, ‘I trust you with 4 billion strangers and oh, by the way, I’ve given you no training;’ then we need to recognize our part in this. I feel like sitting down at the table with your family this summer would be a great way to start the conversation,” one advocate said.
Parents were also taught what not to say if their child was showing signs of a mental health crisis. Phrases like “It’s just a phase,” “You’ll snap out of it,” and “Stop being selfish” were among some of the ones that should not be used.
Another speaker said another important sign parents can look out for is if their child loses interest in hobbies. “They’re sad, they’re blue, they’re irritable, and they complain that nothing is fun anymore. That’s a big one, ask them more questions about that,” he said. “Because when nothing is fun anymore, and you don’t enjoy what you used to, nothing matters anymore — what’s the point?”
If you or someone you know needs help, the suicide prevention hotline is available 24/7. The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
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