Suicide is up among North Carolina youth and teens

Suicide is up among North Carolina youth and teens
Monarch hosts open house at youth crisis center in honor of Children’s Mental Health Day

The increase of mental illness and deaths caused by suicide is on the rise among children and teens, according to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, mental health crises among children and teens in the state of North Carolina are on the rise. Suicide is now the state’s second-leading cause of death for children 10 to 17 years, after vehicle accidents. Forty-four children and teens took their lives in 2017, compared to 22 in 2008, according to data reported by the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics, and the suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years.

Bringing attention to the need for more treatment and services for youth is Children’s Mental Health Day on May 6, which takes place during Children’s Mental Health Week May 5 – 11. Both highlight the importance of mental wellness for youth, reinforcing that early mental health treatment is essential.

The SECU Youth Crisis Center is the first facility of its kind in North Carolina for children and teens, ages 6 – 17, who experience a mental health crisis. By opening this center more than a year ago, Monarch is making life-changing inpatient services available for people in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Cabarrus, Rowan and neighboring counties. To date, the SECU Youth Crisis Center has had more than 580 admissions.

The SECU Youth Crisis Center provides access to timely, age-appropriate mental health care both during a crisis and beyond. We offer short-term stabilization for an acute psychiatric episode in a secure setting that provides a safe and healthy environment where recovery and healing can begin.  Once children are discharged from the SECU Youth Crisis Center, one of the most important priorities is to establish a plan that works for families, explained Monarch Lead Behavioral Therapist Heather Tidwell.

“Our goal is to ensure that youth and their families are set up for success upon discharge,” Tidwell said. “We provide them with a wrap-around discharge plan that involves the child, the guardian and vital community supports so they can work on maintaining safety, stability and structure while in the least restrictive setting.”

Monarch works with a variety of community partners, other providers and referral sources, social services, and schools to create cultures and climates that understand the impact of anxiety on young people’s learning, as well as providing evidence-based supports for time spent in the community and other environments.