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The warning signs your child's mental health is at a breaking point

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and our community's young people are struggling now more than ever before.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — If you or someone you know may be considering suicide—help is available. Speak with someone today by calling the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

The country is facing a mental health crisis, unlike anything we've seen.  

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among kids ages 10 to 14, according to the CDC.

"Families were struggling during the pandemic, there was a lot of isolation, which contributed to an increase in depression," McNabb Center's Regional Clinical Vice President Mary Katsikas said.

It's a terrifying reality for families.

Suicidal thoughts are more prevalent too. Director of Psychology at East Tennessee Children's Hospital Dr. Jan Neece said more mental health patients seeking help have more acute cases of mental illness. 

Some of the warning signs of suicide include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Cutting off contact with friends and family members
  • Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change of appetite

There is something parents can do to help their children.

"I think it is important to take care of basics, making sure that you have some time to talk with your with your child and with your teen even if your teen is difficult," Neece said. "I think it's also important for kids to get some exercise, eat and to have dinner with their families, not to eat while they're playing games, not to have devices at the table."

For a list of mental health resources, click here.

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