Pittsburgh medical expert discusses alarming trend, how to save lives

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, as some young Americans are experiencing a mental health crisis. Results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released in April indicated that one in four high school students in the United States had seriously considered suicide and about 1 in 10 had attempted suicide. Even before COVID-19 arrived in 2019, nearly 36.7% of high school students on average reported lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness, according to the CDC. Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke to a medical expert about what can be done to stop the alarming trend and save lives. Watch the full report in the video player above. “One of the problems with suicide and depression is that we’re not very willing to talk about it in public and it takes courage to say it,” said child Gary Swanson. and adolescent psychiatrist at the Allegheny Health Network. Experts say the way we think about our mental health develops early in our lives. Jesse Putkoski said the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has programs for teens, including a campaign called “Seize the Awkward,” giving kids real tools. “It provides information and resources on how to recognize warning signs. Start a conversation with a friend if you’re concerned about them, what to do during the conversation, and what to do after the conversation,” Putkoski said. The CDC survey found that when teens feel connected to other students and adults at their school, they were less likely to report feeling sad or hopeless. Only 47% said they felt close to others in their school. “I think kids will talk when they feel someone is listening to them. Not telling them what to do and when they’re not scared, there will be negative consequences,” Swanson said. The CDC found that more than a third of high school students said they had poor mental health during the pandemic and 44% said they felt constantly sad or hopeless in the past year. Putkoski said more and more people are talking about mental health, seeing it as a sign of strength and that it should be cared for the same way as your physical health. AFSP’s toll-free Crisis Line is open 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line number is open at 741-741.

May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, as some young Americans are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released in April indicated that one in four high school students in the United States had seriously considered suicide and about 1 in 10 had attempted suicide.

Even before COVID-19 arrived in 2019, nearly 36.7% of high school students on average reported lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness, according to the CDC.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke to a medical expert about what can be done to stop the alarming trend and save lives.

Watch the full report in the video player above.

“One of the problems with suicide and depression is that we’re not very willing to talk about it in public and it takes courage to say it,” said Gary Swanson, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Allegheny Health Network.

Experts say the way we think about our mental health develops early in our lives.

Jesse Putkoski said the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has programs for teens, including a campaign called “Seize the Awkward,” giving kids real tools.

“It provides information and resources on how to recognize warning signs. Start a conversation with a friend if you’re concerned about them, what to do during the conversation, and what to do after the conversation,” Putkoski said.

The CDC survey found that when teens feel connected to other students and adults at their school, they were less likely to report feeling sad or hopeless.

Only 47% said they felt close to others in their school.

“I think kids will talk when they feel someone is listening to them. Not telling them what to do and when they’re not scared, there will be negative consequences,” Swanson said.

The CDC found that more than a third of high school students said they had poor mental health during the pandemic and 44% said they felt constantly sad or hopeless in the past year.

Putkoski said more and more people are talking about mental health, seeing it as a sign of strength and that it should be cared for the same way as your physical health.

AFSP’s toll-free Crisis Line is open 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line number is open at 741-741.

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