According to the surgeon general, between 2007 and 2018 suicide rates among the youth, ages 10 to 24 in the U.S. increased by 57%. The statistics on youth suicides dates back even before the world was shut down from the global pandemic of COVID-19.
The surgeon general had also declared suicide a national mental health crisis among the youth long before COVID put a stranglehold on all of us. Between 2006 and 2013, approximately one in eight emergency room visits related to depression, anxiety and similar conditions jumped over 15%.
On a personal level, my wife Teri and I lost one of our twin daughters to suicide three years ago. She was just 24. Her death shocked all of her family and friends.
She had received excellent grades in school, graduated from UCLA and was on her own living and working in Los Angeles. She drove up to visit regularly. We talked about minor work-related issues. I thought she was fine, even though she spent most of her life in LA alone.
I did not see the signs or even know what the “red flags” were. So, I’m passing along a few red flags that I believe we all should recognize. If you suspect someone close to you – or a person you know – is having a mental health issue, possibly suicidal tendencies, such as those listed below, you should consider getting help.
Behaviors that may be a red flag:
– A change in eating habits
– Loss of interest in usual activities
– Withdrawal from family, friends or both
– Written notes indicating suicide
These are just four red flags, but there are others. There are more immediate resources as well, resources that I took advantage of.
– Talk to your doctor or visit a mental health facility such as the good people at Sutter Yuba Behavioral Health or Peach Tree Clinic.
– Call the new suicide prevention number at 988 to get immediate help.
Finally, feel free to respond to this article. Let everyone in our community know what you have done to help redirect, and possibly save, your own or a person’s life.
For some, suicide may appear to be the solution to their pain. Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation are all treatable mental health conditions. I’ve been there. My signs of mental health needs were recognized when I was in college. Resources, such as those I’ve already mentioned, have positively influenced how I’ve lived my life with bipolar disorder. So, let’s turn these negative trends around and save more lives.
Armand Douyon was born and raised in Yuba City and attended St Isidore Catholic School. He received a degree in communications from Emerson College in Boston.