NewsPolitics Unplugged


Parents urged to talk to kids as youth suicide numbers rise

Posted at 11:59 AM, Sep 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-03 10:00:21-04

DENVER -- Health experts are troubled by the number of young people attempting to take their own lives in Colorado. The pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Colorado alone says they’ve seen a 300 percent increase in patients seeking treatment for suicidal behaviors over the past seven years.  Other hospitals are seeing similar increases.

“Suicide has become the second, if not the leading cause, for death with children age ten up to young adults age 24,” said Jeff Johnson, the Director of Outpatient Services at The Medical Center of Aurora’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Center on this weekend's Politics Unplugged. “It’s becoming more and more prevalent.  We’re seeing younger children, unfortunately complete suicide.”

The recent death of a 9-year-old boy reflects what hospital staff are seeing. James Myles’ mother told our partners at the Denver Post that her son was bullied because he recently came out as gay. 

Johnson says the best thing parents can do is be open and honest about suicide with their children starting at an early age.

“It’s difficult I think as parents, we want to kind of keep that from our children. We don’t want them to hear about some of the details and things like that, but as parents we need to be open, we need to be honest with them and we need to use age appropriate language with our children,” he said.

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.

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30am & 4pm on Denver7 and noon on K3-KCDO.