More Mississippi children are experiencing suicidal thoughts based on data found in a nationwide study. MPB's Alexis Ware reports
Across the nation, children are being hospitalized for thoughts of suicide at a rates double what they were in 2008. Gregory Plemmons is an associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University's Children's Hospital and is the lead author of the study. He says online activity could factor into the growing number.
"The rise of social media has led some people to think that perhaps cyber bullying is driving this and that certainly may be true for some of the females. The biggest jump we've actually seen has been adolescent females and that has been reported by the CDC."
Plemmons says a lack of access to mental health care puts rural areas more at risk for a higher rate of completed suicides. The Mississippi Department of Mental Health reports suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens. Reports show in 2015, 17 percent of middle and high school students in Mississippi said they had considered suicide.
Jennifer Armstrong is a certified counselor at Region 8 Mental Health Services in Central Mississippi. She says looking out for warning signs could make a positive difference.
"There are certain warning signs that are out there that you may not think of. It can range from a change in their appearance and their behavior, their to group of friends, to actually writing a letter or threatening suicide."
Plemmons says the number of patients who are admitted for thoughts of suicide increases near the start of the school year and is at its lowest percentage during summer months.