WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Mason City Schools Superintendent Jonathan Cooper says the district is seeing a concerning increase in the number of students hospitalized for having suicidal thoughts.
Over the past three weeks, Cooper puts the count at 15 students, including some learning remotely and others learning in person.
Northern Kentucky psychologist Dr. Ed Connor says the trend is driven by the pandemic, and it isn’t just happening in Mason.
“Social isolation reinforces depression and anxiety,” he told FOX19 NOW Tuesday. “So it’s nothing new per se, but with the pandemic we’re seeing a lot more children staying at home, and they’re online a lot more than what they previously were because of what they have to do.”
Connor explains some children overreact when they get frustrated, bored, depressed or anxious.
“Some children lose their appetite,” he said. "Sleep disruption is fairly common.'
Outside those symptoms, Connor says some will isolate themselves in their rooms because they’re “sulking.” He also says the key to heading off suicidal thoughts in children is communication.
“As a parent, you have to persist and you have to stay with it and try to get them to open up,” he said.
And when you do get them to open up, Connor says you should start the conversation with leading questions.
“'Tell me what’s going on,'" he offered, “and being curious. Eventually a lot of children will start to talk and open up, but if you start to lecture about, ‘You shouldn’t be on that phone so much,' or, ‘Don’t pay attention to what they’re saying,’ that goes in one ear and out the other.”
Connor says parent should immediately seek help from a mental health professional if their children start making statements about wanting to die or hurt themselves.
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