A suicide epidemic currently exists among teens. In fact, you’ve probably heard many startling statistics, such as that suicide is the second-leading cause of death between ages 10 and 34, according to the National Institute for Mental Health. And maybe you’ve heard that 8.6% of high school students attempted suicide in the past 12 months, according to The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
As the parent of a child dealing with mental illness, you spend a lot of time and energy focusing on your child’s day-to-day well-being. Whether you are coordinating with your child’s teachers and mental health professionals, helping your child cope with classwork and extracurricular activities, or dealing with a full-blown meltdown, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to manage it all. Left unchecked, these stressors can take a toll on you and your child, ultimately harming your own physical and mental health.
Is your child normally engaged and motivated but suddenly having trouble paying attention? Are they more withdrawn than usual? It might be tempting to write this off as just laziness or a passing “phase.” Yet this might be a sign of a larger problem. In fact, social withdrawal and isolation is often one of the first signs of a possible eating disorder.
It’s your child’s bedtime and you’re dreading it. Instead of the calm process you wish it was, it’s filled with tears, pleading, and excuses after excuses. Peacefully reading bedtimes stories is a thing of the past while the stubborn phrase “I’m not tired!” is here to stay. Why is your child avoiding going to bed? Is this normal?
Is your happy-go-lucky teen suddenly avoiding situations they once found enjoyable, such as hanging out with friends, going to movies, or joining in on family activities outside of the home? Have you noticed your teen getting agitated or upset while standing in the grocery store line, or missing more school days than usual even though they seem healthy overall?
As parents, your number one goal is to help your child live a happy and healthy life. You want to protect them from any kind of harm — and that includes harmful drug use. Unfortunately, today more than ever before, your child may be at risk for developing an opioid addiction.