Several suicides among local high school students has the Cincinnati community mourning these losses and searching for answers. WCPO’s Tanya O’Rourke spoke with Lindner Center of HOPE Medical Director of Inpatient and Partial Hospital Program Services Dr. Tracy Cummings about what families need to know about suicide prevention for themselves and their children.
According to Dr. Cummings, suicide has become more prevalent in recent years. “It’s striking actually – up to almost 30% increase since 1999.” This may be a conservative estimate due to stigma discouraging people from self-reporting suicide attempts.
Cummings cites risk factors that correlate with suicide attempts, including a family history of suicide, previous attempts, or a recent loss among close relatives or friends. Dr. Cummings also refers to a “contagion effect,” where one suicide within a community may trigger additional attempts by people who are suffering.
Social media use can also affect teens. Suggestions are offered on how parents can approach their kids on the topic of self-harm. Parents should not worry about “implanting” thoughts into their children’s minds by asking them directly about suicide. Rather, it is imperative that parents start a direct conversation with their children.
Watch both parts of Dr. Cummings’ two-segment interview on WCPO’s YouTube Page