The Mālama Ola Minute is a series brought to you by the Kamehameha Schools Mālama Ola Division to increase awareness, promote discussion, and offer tools to improve the physical and mental health of our haumāna.
According to a recent CDC report, emergency room visits for adolescent suicide attempts nationwide soared early this year especially among girls. Visits for suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 rose by nearly 51% between February and March versus the comparable pre-pandemic period in 2019. The rate for boys ages 12 to 17 also increased but by a much lesser amount (3%).
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. None of us wants to believe that our keiki are at risk for suicide. But during this tumultuous time, staying alert to warning signs and talking openly with kids about their feelings are more important than ever.
Here are a few tips on suicide prevention to follow and to share with those around you:
Look for the signs
Keep your eyes, ears and heart open to the possibility that thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm may be present in your keiki. It’s normal for teens to feel sad during the ongoing pandemic – crying sometimes because they miss their friends or because sports and social events have been cancelled. However, your teen may benefit from extra support if they have:
How to help a suicidal teen
Following are some recommendations for helping suicidal teens from Mental Health America, a national leader in mental health support, recovery and advocacy:
What KS is doing:
At Kamehameha Schools, we understand the need for supporting the mental health of our haumāna to help them be successful both at school and in life. To better address our students’ mental health needs, we have behavioral health professionals on every campus, implemented depression screening in students who visit middle or high school health rooms, and increased engagement with ʻohana.
If you think your child may be suicidal, use the resources below to get free help –
24 hours a day, seven days a week:
Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators
National Association of School Psychologists
10 Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Suicide
The American Academy of Pediatrics
Your Child Has Thought About Ending Their Life – What’s Next? (PDF)
Center for Suicide Prevention and Research
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