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More kids hospitalized for suicide attempts, some blame remote learning

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:23 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - New research shows a big jump in emergency room visits for children with suicide attempts.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the number of teenage girls admitted saw a 50 percent increase from 2019 to this year, with remote learning being a factor.

Many schools were in a fully-remote or hybrid learning mode from March of 2020 through last school year.

Tara Hamann with Transitions of Western Illinois, who deals with mental health, said the lack of face-to-face interaction caused more students to feel depressed.

“One of the big key factors that we notice is that there is a decline in their social relationships. They disengage. They quit spending time with them. And so when I think that naturally gets taken away from them, as the pandemic did, I think it creates feelings of depression,” she said.

Quincy High School has counselors, psychologists, and a school social worker to make sure students are in a good place mentally to stay in school.

QHS social worker Morgan Fox said it does not surprise her that remote learning is a factor, as she’s seen a lot of students struggling this school year.

“School is obviously a lot about academics, but it’s also about social-emotional learning and socializing with your peers so being out of school for that long doesn’t surprise me that students are struggling,” Fox said.

Hamann said for some students, going back to in-person learning after being virtual has also been an issue for their mental health.

“Now that all of those things are being thrown back in, trying to manage all of those things, and the social aspect of it, so I think that it creates a lot of anxiety and pressure,” Hamann said.

Hamann said Transitions screens people in a psychiatric crisis to see if they’d be better served in a hospital setting.

She said they have screened around 700 people this year, many who were kids struggling with issues related to the pandemic.

Fox said while they respect student confidentiality, if a student is severely struggling and might attempt suicide, their parents will be notified.

If you need help, or know someone who does, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1(800) 273-8255.

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