Spike in Maine teen suicides worrisome for officials

Teen suicides spike in Maine

**If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, please call the Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112***

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The warning comes following the suicides of three teenagers in Maine over the past month. That includes the death of a 16-year old transgender boy.

Charles Knowles killed himself while detained at the Long Creek Youth Development Center.

His mother has said that he didn't receive the clinical mental health treatment he needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it's now just as likely for kids ages ten to 14 to die from suicide as from traffic accidents.

The data was collected two years ago, but it points to the fact that more young people are suffering from a range of mental health problems.

Jenna Mehnert, the Executive Director of National Alliance of Mental Illness Maine or NAMI, says the unprecedented increase in suicides among children at such a young age is very troubling.

The CDC found that 425 children between ten and 14 killed themselves in 2014 -- 384 children in same age group died in car accidents.
She says parents and teachers need to look for red flags such as withdrawing from family or not spending time with friends. 

She says the median age of anxiety disorder onset is 11 years old -- but it can take an average of ten years before it is diagnosed.

'But what can we do to early intervene if we know on average that someone waits ten years until they get help how can we take steps backwards and get someone help at the beginning of their challenge instead of waiting until they are acutely ill or struggling with thoughts of not wanting to be alive' said Mehnert.

NAMI also provides special training to parents to help identify some of the red flags of potential mental health problems in teens 18 years old and younger. If you would like more information on the Youth Mental First Aid courses, you can log onto these websites.
www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/
www.namimaine.org/

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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