A local psychologist says parents should talk to their children after public suicide attempts, like a recent Clark County teen who allegedly streamed her attempt to kill herself live on Facebook.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies and Moorefield Twp. EMS responded to a 9-1-1 call on Monday from a friend of the teen who said he had seen her live video online, “taking a large amount of medication,” according to sheriff’s office report.
Deputies got in touch with the teen’s parents, the report says, who were able to stop her from taking any more medication. She was transported to Springfield Regional Medical Center.
“If suicide attempts are being made publicly via Facebook Live than the level of exposure is increasing exponentially,” said Dr. Jordan Allison, a clinical psychologist with the Springfield Regional Medical Group.
Exposure to suicide is a risk factor for teens and adults, Allison said, and copycat suicides are more common in adolescents.
If a child is exposed to suicide in any way, he said, that’s a good time to bring up the subject with them and ask if they’ve ever though about harming themselves.
“So often, parents and friends are worried to ask,” he said. “And they’re scared to ask because they’re concerned that if they ask that they’ll be planting that idea in the teenager’s mind.”
But Allison said that’s not true. If a child has thought about harming themselves, he said, they’ll be glad to know that someone cares. If not, it could lead to an open discussion about what caused the parent to be concerned.
“I would encourage parents to take any type of threat in regards to suicide seriously,” he said.
Parents should look out for changes in mood or behavior as signs a teenager may have suicidal thoughts, he said. That could include sleeping more or less often, changes in eating habits or mood changes.
If a parent is still concerned about their child’s well-being after talking with them, Allison said they should contact a doctor or mental health professional for help.
The Clark County Mental Health Recovery Board can be reached at 937-322-0648.
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