DENVER -- Colorado health experts are troubled by the number of young people attempting to take their own lives. The pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Colorado saw a 300 percent increase in patients seeking treatment for suicidal behaviors over the past seven years.
"The numbers at the hospital are reflecting a pretty significant increase," said Emily Marcheschi, a licensed psychologist with the hospital.
The recent death of a 9-year-old boy reflects what hospital staff are seeing. Jamel Myles, a fourth grader at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School, took his own life last week. His mother told our partners at the Denver Post that her son was bullied because he recently came out as gay.
"It certainly does speak to the fact that it’s something we’re seeing in kids that are younger and younger," said Marcheschi.
Marcheschi said there's a myth that talking about suicide puts the idea in someone's head but she said it's important to have a conversation with kids, especially if you're concerned about their behavior.
"With a 9-year-old, they're so young that there's so much room to intervene and to help them feel better but we have to see them in order to be able to intervene and help them feel better, which means somebody has got to pick up on the fact that they're not doing OK," said Marcheschi.
Staff at Colorado Crisis Services are always available if you or your child need someone to talk with. The phone number is 844-493-8255 or you can text "TALK" to 38255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is another resource available for anyone that needs help. The number to call is 800-273-8255. Counselors are available to provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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