Shocking stories of young children committing suicide have captured recent headlines, raising concerns about what could be fueling these tragedies. While experts point to various causes, they say some key activities can help protect your children, like teaching them about God.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999 through 2015, 1,309 children ages 5 to 12 took their own lives in the US. Mental health experts say while bullying plays a big role, other issues can contribute to this tragic trend.
“We are seeing an increase in the rates of depression and anxiety, particularly in middle school and high school-aged children and much of that is due to the frenetic pace within which we lead our lives in the modern era,” child and family psychologist Dr. Jesse Gill told CBN News. “And of course, a key contributor of that is the non-stop accessing of technology.”
Dr. Gill, who specializes in attachment theory which examines how children form connections with their parents, pointed out that young children are especially vulnerable to technology. “This is radically changing the neural pathways of the human brain, the capacity to pay attention, even the capacity to have deeper connection bonds,” he explained.
And the problem continues as children get older. According to Kidsdata.org, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the age of 15 and 24.
There are positive ways to address these issues. A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that kids who attend church may be less likely to fall victim to depression and suicide. Researchers say a regular religious routine such as attending services or prayer was associated with positive outcomes such as higher levels of happiness and volunteering.
Those findings line up with another study published in JAMA showed that kids had a lower risk of suicide if religion was important to their parents.
Dr. Gill recommends that parents limit their child’s technology intake and spend meaningful one on one time with them.
“These are the things that are going to bolster and preserve us and truly help our kids to experience the love of God, the saving grace of Jesus Christ through the tangible expressions of our relationship with them,” he explained.