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Health experts say suicidal behavior in youth on the rise

Local health experts say suicidal behavior among young people is on the rise.

“In Arizona, for our youth, it’s the second leading cause of death,” explained Sonora Behavioral Health’s Chief Operating Officer, Vanessa Seaney.

Medical professionals believe the modern age of social media and online bullying are putting mounting pressure on teens and children.

“If they’re seeing something on social media, that can really trigger… feelings of sadness, rejection,” said Seaney. “Especially on days like Valentine’s Day, they see someone they might have had a crush on is no longer interested in them. Or even for kids, if they’re being bullied.”

Seaney said it’s important to pay attention to warning signs, like withdrawn behavior or past harm attempts. And when a young person speaks about feelings of sadness, adults need to listen.

“It’s really important that when a youth is presenting with any of these risk factor or warning signs, that people around them reach out,” she said.

While suicidal behavior is on the rise, Seaney noted the stigma associated with it is declining.

“Youth, and the population in general, is feeling more comfortable talking about depression and sadness and thoughts of suicide,” she said.

The Community-Wide Crisis Line can be reached at (520) 622-6000. You can also text for help by sending the word ‘TALK’ to 741741.

Other resources available include Sonora Behavioral Health and NAMI of Southern Arizona.

Aalia Shaheed

Aalia Shaheed

Aalia Shaheed is a reporter and weekend anchor for KVOA News 4 Tucson.
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