'Connections' key as suicide rates for girls on the rise, experts say

Ana Day with Oregon Community Programs said the intervention point for kids in these crisis situations is a parent and that open communication is really what matters.

Posted: May 20, 2019 5:31 PM
Updated: May 20, 2019 6:32 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Suicide rates are on the rise for teen girls, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For girls age 10 to 14, suicide rates have risen 12 percent every year from 2007 to 2016.

Ana Day with Oregon Community Programs said the intervention point for kids in these crisis situations is a parent and that open communication is really what matters.

"Many parents of kids who are in that 10 to 14 age range, myself included, did not grow up with cellphones and social media, so we don't necessarily understand the impact it has for kids on the level of connection," Day said.

RELATED: SUICIDE RATES IN GIRLS ARE RISING, STUDY FINDS, ESPECIALLY IN THOSE AGE 10 TO 14

But there's not just one reason for this spike.

Roger Brubaker, suicide prevention coordinator for Lane County Public Health, said trying to pinpoint one reason does more harm than good. He also said Oregon schools are for the most part lacking adequate behavioral and mental health support for kids.

"Schools are educational, but they serve as a critical point for health care as well. That's why schools with integrated health care are some of the most well positioned, but unfortunately many don't have the funding or access to that," Brubaker said.

Both Brubaker and Day said social media is no longer a source of "fake" community for kids.

"The ship has sailed. The toothpaste is out of the tube on social media as a means of connections for our kids," Day said. "It's happening. It's part of their life. It will continue to be part of their life."

Brubaker called it a life-saver for some kids. 

"Online communities do create connections and connections save lives," he said. 

Lane County Public Health hosts suicide prevention trainings. For a schedule, click here. 

Brubaker and Day said education and intervention are life-saving when it comes to the health of your child and that open communication can save lives.

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