Study shows suicide numbers for teen girls at 40-year high

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A new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics outlines the staggering increase in the number of teenagers who are committing suicide.

The study finds that the number of teen girls, between ages 15 and 19, who committed suicide has doubled since 2007, reaching a 40-year high. For teen boys between 2007 and 2015, the number increased by 30 percent.

Licensed clinical social worker Jennifer Bohr-Cuevas says the pressures of social media are largely to blame.

"On Facebook they are able to compare themselves to other users in terms of friends status, social status," Bohr-Cuevas says. "They can log on and see what events they were not invited to by their friends...and that definitely causes problems. It's a danger."

Meanwhile, at the Long Island Crisis Center in Bellmore, community education coordinator Laura Campbell and her colleagues are working the phones. Laura says the scourge of teen suicide affects communities and households across Nassau and Suffolk counties. And many times it's the teens who seem to have it all figured out who are truly struggling.

"They are getting good grades in school, they are on the school sports team, they have friends, and it looks good," Campbell says. "But that same situation in the adolescents might be, 'well I get good grades, but I'm stressed out all the time, I don't sleep, I'm not eating right, and yes I'm on a sports team, but I'm not one of the better players, and I don't feel I'm good enough.'"

As for warning signs, Bohr-Cuevas says parents should look to see if their teens are changing their eating and sleeping patterns and withdrawing from the types of activities and social settings that they normally enjoy.

Resource links and numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Long Island Crisis Center

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