SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Students in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry will begin to go back to school later this week. As they get ready, local psychiatrists say it’s important to talk about children’s mental health ahead of the school year.
Margaret Alexander, with Shrink Savannah, works with many young adults, specifically children and teens. She says they have seen an increase in behavior leading to self-harm, according to data from the Center for Disease Control.
Alexander says that between 2000 and 2017, the suicide rates for teens increased from 8 percent to 11.8 percent. According to Shrink Savannah, there are many factors that can change a child’s mental health at different ages. Family trauma, lack of support, bullying, and even social media play a role in the mental health of children and young adults.
“One of the things that we need to get do more of is allowing kids to feel safe,” Alexander said. “Creating an environment where they feel safe to talk about what they are feeling and what they are thinking. Talk about some of those suicidal behaviors and making sure they have access to resources like a therapist of a psychiatrist.”
Alexander says as kids head back to school this year, be sure to have that safety net for students to be able to talk and discuss their feelings if they are having issues.