Experts say social media is key factor in increase in ER visits for children with suicidal thoughts
The increase in emergency room visits for children with suicidal thoughts has been on the rise for over five years.
A recent study published in the journal "Pediatrics" on Illinois hospital data from 2016 to 2021 showed more than 81,000 visits.
Chief Executive Officer of Mindful Care Tamia Aldad says they are also seeing a spike from school referrals.
Mindful Care is a service that specializes in treating people suffering from anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
Aldad says the biggest reason why so many young people might be contemplating suicide is because of social media.
"Kids are constantly connected to one another, so if you're experiencing any sort of bullying or toxic environment at school or with your peers, they could continue that dynamic when you leave," Aldad says
He also says children and teenagers lack the skills adults might have to handle stressful situations.
"Their ability to tolerate frustration and their ability to tolerate any sort of bullying," Aldad says. "For some reason we're seeing that there's a pattern that their tolerance is just a lot lower."
He says the best things for parents to do is to remind children that what they are seeing on social media most of the time are intentionally hand-selected portrayals of people and things that create a particular type of image, which can be difficult for children to rationalize.
Aldad also says it's never been more important for parents to create a transparent relationship with their children so if they are thinking of hurting themselves, they feel comfortable in sharing that.