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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Experts Fear More Teen Suicides During Pandemic

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens. And as young adults face the many unknowns of returning to school during a pandemic, experts fear the worse. Renowned pediatrician and author of Raising Global Teens, Anisha Abraham, MD, MPH, offers the following tips for helping adolescents cope with this unprecedented time.

• Teach self-acceptance. When teens compare themselves to others, remind them that no one is perfect. Everyone is “uneven,” meaning they excel in some areas but not others, and that is okay.

• Support time management. Encourage teens to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated time periods, take breaks, and use a reminder system for deadlines.

• Help them enwind. Make sure teens take time to fill their “anti-stress toolbox” with healthy ways to unwind. This could be as simple as talking to trusted friends or watching a funny show.

• Encourage mind and body care. Ensure teens are getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising, all of which help to regulate mood and energy levels.

• Talk about the tough stuff. Have important conversations with teens about challenging topics, such as pubertal changes, sexting, vaping, and planning for the future.

• Know the signs of depression and suicide. Understand warning signs, which include: mood swings, withdrawal, poor sleeping or appetite, trouble with memory and concentration, talking or writing about suicide, and giving away belongings.
• Get help. If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Go to for more information.

Raising Global Teens will be available from Summertime Publishing beginning on October 1, 2020.