The pandemic has aggravated the tendency of young people with thoughts of killing themselves, according to a study

Thoughts of killing oneself in elementary school children are becoming more frequent in the US and although they do not originate in the pandemic, the isolation caused an increase in the number of cases.

Olivia Carter advises elementary school children in a public school from the United States. Often students come to their office with the irritated eyes from crying a lot. Others they come in angry, with clenched fists and pursed lips. Some more enter with a stoic expression in the face. “I want to kill myself,” they say. Their suicidal thoughts are real.

How common are suicidal thoughts in children?

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Many of the children that Carter accompanies they are only 8 years old. According to an article for NBC News, protocols for targeting this type of behavior are already common in the United States. Schools have had to dedicate esignificant psychological forces to prevent students from wanting to hurt themselves. In the most severe cases, which take their own life.

According to the expert, many of her patients ask her what does it mean to die, or what happens when you die. These types of issues are difficult to resolve when dealing with children in primary school, and perhaps they don’t have the emotional resources to truly understand the significance of such a final decision.

Before this growing trend caught the attention of psychologists around the world, the self-harm and suicidal behavior were analyzed with greater emphasis in teenagers. However, attention to young adult cases neglected the possibility of it occurring in young children who suffer from this type of crisis also.

For this reason, there is little information on cases in younger generations. Even if suicide cases remain rare, only since 2016, the cases ending up in hospitals have doubled in children 6 to 12 years old. The frequency with which this population urgently visits emotional support spaces, in contrast, saw a peak increase in 115%.

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How does the pandemic affect this problem?

suicidal thoughtsPhoto: Getty Images

The causes that lead a person to think about taking their own life they are multifactorial. This means that there is no single reason why someone has suicidal thoughts. On the contrary, your family environment and life history directly influence how experience your inner life, manage your emotions and take decisions accordingly.

One of the most influential factors, according to Lori Chaffin-Britt, director of intensive treatment programs at The Child Center, is the increasing abuse of substances in children who have not even turned 10 years:

“I see children in whom multigenerational drug abuse, mental health problems and poverty have worked together to create several really sick people,” says the expert. “I see more children who look sicker.”

It is a reality that the dynamics of isolation due to pandemic they have accentuated this problem all over the world. Anxiety and depression rates have soared to historic levels. This external conditioning aggravates emotional problems that children carry on their own.

“It’s probably going to be worse for those who were already struggling or already disadvantaged by society,” said Jonathan Singer, president of the American Association of Suicidology and associate professor of social work at Loyola University in Chicago. “The young children essentially they have lost a year of socialization ”.

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