It’s not something anyone wants to think about or talk about but suicide among children and teenagers has become an increasingly urgent problem, and North Texas is no exception: Cook Children’s Medical Center last month admitted a record 43 patients who had attempted suicide. The medical center recorded seven suicide deaths in 2020, marking the first time suicide was the leading cause of trauma deaths at the hospital (surpassing child abuse and car wrecks).
In response to the problem, Cook Children’s has launched The JOY campaign, starting with a series of articles on the hospital’s Checkup Newsroom website exploring how the pandemic and isolation has affected kids; the impact of social media; the role over-the-counter medication plays in youth suicide attempts; the unique challenges faced by minorities, including the LGBTQ+ community; and the effect of suicide on families.
The first article in the series quotes Dr. Kristen Pyrc, co-medical director of psychiatry at Cook Children’s: “The mental health crisis was already happening, then it met a global pandemic and these are the consequences.”
It’s a problem that touches all our lives. It’s one we must confront.