The Boys Town National Hotline recorded a 12% increase in calls from 2012 to 2016 from youth and young adults considering suicide and seeking help for different types of mental anguish. Dr. Dan Daly is a child psychologist at Boys Town and says it is an alarming statistic.
Dr. Daly says, “Last year we actually interrupted about 450 suicides in progress and I’m talking where a kid has already ingested pills or a couple cases where there was a gun in there presence. These calls are always very serious and any uptick in that number alarms us.”
Daly says if a person is reaching out for help they typically don’t want to go through with a suicide. He says girls tend to reach out more often than boys so when they do so they are typically very desperate. He says they are very glad to get those calls because when kids are talking they are not acting.
There are some clues that a child may be in trouble. Dr. Daily says parents should see a red flag if there is a change in socialization or eating habits so that is a good time to stay engaged as much as possible. He says if a friend or classmate commits suicide it is also important to talk about it. it is not a taboo subject. Dr. Daily says you want to talk to your child and walk through with them who they would talk to if they felt this way.
There has been a lot of buzz over the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The story takes a look at the suicide of a teenage girl who left tapes identifying the people she blames for her action. Dr. Daly is concerned about this series due to the copycat phenomenon. He says, “We see an uptick in suicides whenever a prominent person in our country commits suicide, attempts suicide we see an uptick. Something like this is going to create a stir.”
The Boys Town National Hotline number is 1-800-448-3000.