NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A National Institute of Health study shows young black children are twice as likely to commit suicide.
At Youth Villages in south Nashville Friday, clinicians were busy answering calls for help and assistance.
“We see that our call volume pretty drastically increases after kids have been in school for about 6 weeks or so and then at the end of the school year,” Brittany Farrar said.
Farrar is the director of Youth Village's Specialized Crisis Services. She said the study shows younger children are committing suicide, specifically of a certain race.
“Specifically for African American children, ages 5 to 12. They are roughly two times at higher risks for suicide rates," Farrar explained.
She said a few factors likely play into this. For instance, families in general may not be as aware of both the risk and resources available. Also, younger children don't have a thorough understanding of death or what happens after death. However, the biggest factor may be the access to the means to commit suicide.
“So it’s really important that families secure any weapons, sharp objects, medications in their home because the more accessible the means are, a child young like that might make an impulsive decision that they can’t reverse,” Farrar explained.
She encourages parents and adults to monitor children's social media and behavior patterns. “Maybe it presents more as acting out behaviors or irritability,” Farrar said.
If help is needed, practitioners are just a call away. “Calling doesn’t necessarily mean your child is going to be hospitalized, that can be a big fear. What we want to do is try to help connect with community resources so children can stay in their home,” Farrar said.
You can reach Youth Village's crisis hotline for Middle Tennessee at 866-791-9222.