Stories about: suicide

Talking with your child about suicide

Depressed teen sits against wall, covering her face with her arms, considering suicide
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

For three weeks in late spring of 2018, it seemed like suicide dominated the media. On May 18, the second season of the controversial series 13 Reasons Why began airing on Netflix. Eighteen days later, fashion designer Kate Spade died by suicide, followed three days later by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

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Gun violence and children: Why it’s a public health issue

pediatric gun deaths
Images by Patrick Bibbins

“There have been more than 52,000 pediatric firearm deaths in the past 18 years,” says Dr. Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital as he kicks off his talk. It’s May 3, 2018, and he’s sharing the startling statistic with a rapt audience at the hospital’s Special Grand Rounds on Trauma and Gun Violence.

Later that same day, a 10-year-old Ohio boy will be shot in the face while he sleeps in bed, one of 11 bullets to enter his home during a drive-by shooting. Three North Dakota siblings ages 6 to 14 will be murdered by their mother — who will then kill herself — with a handgun. The following day, a 3-year-old South Carolina boy will fatally shoot himself in the head while playing with a gun he finds at a family friend’s home.

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Ask the Mediatrician: Should I let my child watch ’13 Reasons Why’?

Boston Children's experts weigh in on whether or not teens should watch 13 Reasons Why.

My daughter is 13. Her friends in middle school have recently become obsessed with the Netflix show, “13 Reasons Why.” I haven’t read the book or watched the show, but have been seeing a few news articles that worry me that the show may be dangerous for kids to watch graphic depictions of suicide, bullying and forced sex. My daughter feels that it is only “drama” (in the teen use of the word), and she’s been feeling left out of the conversation with her friends. Is it ok for me to let her watch it? ~ Just One Reason Why Not, USA

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Millions of children have mental health disorders while treatment budgets shrink

When feeling stressed out by the hectic pace of modern life, it’s easy to get wistful for the carefree days of youth—when it seemed the only thing we had to worry about was getting along with the other kids in the neighborhood.

But according to a first-of-its-kind report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on childhood mental health, those days are gone or may never even have existed for a huge portion of America’s children.

Analyzing data collected over the past six years, the report shows that millions of kids—as many as one in five—are currently living with some form of mental health disorder. Attention deficit disorder is the most prevalent condition reported, affecting more than 4 million kids nationwide, but other behavioral issues such as anxiety and depression also were heavily documented, affecting 2.2 and 1.8 million children respectively.

While it’s unclear whether or not the numbers in the report mean that these conditions are really more common in kids today, or if parents, clinicians and teachers are just getting better at identifying them, the bottom line is clear: the issue of mental health disorders in American children is too big to ignore.

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