American Academy of Pediatrics Advocates for Teen Suicide Screening

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — “One simple ‘how are you’ could really help save somebody’s life,” said Jennifer Hynes, CEO of Teamcare Behavioral Health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising depression and suicide risk screenings for all adolescents 12 and older.

These screenings identify suicidal ideation, intent, and risk factors.

“Number one we need to screen for depression and the presence of depression, and those people will usually have a feeling of depressed mood, hopelessness, helplessness, and/or basically a lack of interest in pleasure or anticipation of happiness,” said Timothy Fuller, Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Pediatrics for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teen suicide is on the rise, with some studies indicated that six percent of teens attempt suicide.

Medical Director Timothy Fuller says it’s a myth that talking with someone about suicide will increase their likelihood of doing it.

“One of the biggest things you can do, as well, if you do have a child or teenager that has suicidality or that have depression with serious, significant suicide risk is to just ask them how they’re doing every day,” said Fuller.

“I think parents think ‘oh, my kid’s going to be mad at me if I call crisis,’ but what if you don’t call crisis?” said Hynes.

The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255.

A national mental health hotline launches on July 16.

The number for the national mental health hotline will be 988.

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