Talk to your kids about what's bothering them, say experts

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, according to the CDC.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death for young adults between the ages of 10 to 24.

And with September being National Suicide Prevention Month, officials want to remind families there are a number of resources available when dealing with this crisis.

Just as mental health experts have seen suicide rates increase over the past two decades, concern is now growing following a spike in mental health issues as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip people's lives with fear and uncertainty.

"Just the loss of your normal routine sometimes comes out as depression and sometimes that comes out as anger and sometimes it comes out as hopelessness," says Dawan Utecht, the Director of Behavioral Health for Fresno County.

Utecht wants to remind parents to start a conversation with your children to find out what might be bothering them.

"See how they're doing and ask them if they're struggling coping, ask those probing questions. Not just how are you doing but are you struggling with school?" says Utecht.

Fresno County has partnered with local school districts to educate and raise awareness about mental health issues among young adults.

According to Utecht distance learning and lockdowns during the pandemic have weighed heavily on school-age kids.

"This is something that is going on for awhile so we're really fortifying and trying to learn more as we go through this process," says Utecht.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, according to the CDC.

"We encourage that you reach out. We encourage as much as we can communicate that we are here at the Center for Grief and Healing for grievers, for survivors of suicide loss, offering that support," says Candice Wilkins with Survivors of Suicide Loss Fresno.

Wilkins offers assistance for families dealing with the unique loss by way of suicide.

"Our goal is to really remind people that they're not alone. But we also want to remember their loved one. The death is not who their loved one was. It happened but their loved one is so much more," Wilkins says.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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