Expert weighs in on rate of child suicides in Georgia


MACON, Ga. -- According to recently released information from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 18 children in the state have committed suicide so far in 2017.

The majority of these children who have taken their lives this year were between the age of 15 and 17. However, one of those children was between the age of 5 and 9.

To see more information about these statistics, click here.

Sandra Gardener with Coliseum Behavioral Health said the issue of children committing suicide prevalent in the area. She said that recently she has seen younger and younger children coming into her office with suicidal thoughts.

She said recently she saw an 8-year-old patient who was brought in with a plan to commit suicide.

Gardener said some warning signs for kids and adolescents are behavioral changes like sleeping more or less and eating more or less. She said it is also a concern if they were once involved in school and sports but have become disinterested.

She said that one of the big warning signs is seeing a personality change.

Gardener said many kids suffer in silence and sometimes what it takes is a direct, pointed question about their mental health for them to come forward with concerns. She said that if you do have concerns about your child, you should ask them to talk openly and provide an environment where they feel like they are listened to.

She said she thinks that social media and the internet may have something to do with the increase in children expressing suicidal thoughts, especially because they have easy access to information. She said this allows kids know what suicide is and how to make it happen.

If someone you know exhibits signs of suicide, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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