Suicide rates in schools up this year possibly due to COVID

Posted at 10:10 AM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-03 11:10:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Metro-area schools have already had two deaths by suicide since the school year started. Dr. Adi Pour, Director of the Douglas County Health Department said typically that's not the case but she believes it's potentially related to isolation amid the pandemic.

Dr. Mike Vance, Director of behavioral health at Children's Omaha, said the pandemic has been especially harder on children than adults.

"This also is harder of an impact on youth because they really lose a lot of their connectivity. They lose the peer connectivity and that reassurance, that validation and they also lose the connectivity of important adults that they have throughout the year," Vance says.

Many kids are also isolating themselves within their family because many parents are working from home. The increase in isolation and loneliness lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression.

In order to counteract the loss of connectivity, Vance says to get kids into a routine. Safe activities like volunteering can also help.

Parents should also stay connected with their kids and talk to them regularly about how they're feeling amid the pandemic.

"The big thing is listen to your kids. I know if you’re around them a lot now because you’re both isolated, I think sometimes we get a little complacent in communication," Vance says. "So ask them how they’re doing ask them what’s easy for them. What are they liking about all this ad ask them what’s hardest and then try to be solution focused."

When you have these conversations, Vance says it's important to let your kids speak for themselves and not put words into their mouths. After they express their concerns, try to find a solution.

It's also important for parents to stay positive during this time and be a role model for them.

If you or someone you know if having suicidal ideation, call for help. The Boys Town hotline can be contacted 24/7 at 1-800-448-3000. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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