Suicides down in central Florida, but psychologists worried about teenage rates – WFTV

Suicide rates are falling in central Florida, medical examiners have said, continuing a trend that has stunned mental health experts since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from officials representing the counties of Volusia, Orange, Osceola, Lake, Sumter, Seminole and Marion show that these regions recorded fewer suicides than in early September 2020. Suicide rates fell 13% last year, reversing a trend that had seen rates rise slowly since the turn of the century.

Overall, officials said Americans are improving at talking about mental health and understanding each other’s struggles.

“Depression is typically like the common mental health cold: everyone knows what anxiety is, everyone has felt it. Everyone knows what sadness is, ”said Dr. Marcia Norman, psychologist at Positive Change Counseling in Winter Park. “The most important thing is that we standardize it.”

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Norman recently said she was worried about teens, who are under increasing pressure on and off social media.

“It’s the pressure to go to college to be successful, to take IB courses, to work and work and work and work,” she said, adding that a new series of pressures awaited students moving from university to the world of work.

If you, a friend or family member is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text 800-273-8255 to speak to someone who can help.

From 2001 to 2019, suicide rates among Floridians aged 10 to 19 nearly doubled. Norman said parents should be on the lookout for changes in their children’s behavior or a sudden lack of interest in particular activities.

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She said it should be okay to ask teenagers how they are doing.

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell it apart in teens, but be careful and talk to them,” she said.

Another area in the spotlight: first responders who usually arrive to coax potential jumpers from bridges and overpasses.

“We’ve swept it under the rug for so many years and stigmatized when people have PTSD or if they go through something,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

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When not fighting crime, Mina is a staunch mental health advocate and transparent about her own story and her decision to seek help. He passes on the lessons he learned to the rookies and to raise awareness among his ranks.

Mina also cited the success of her department’s behavioral health unit, which responds to people in crisis.

He also said Florida could use more resources to help those in need.

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“Often, family members, the people closest to the person in crisis, had no idea that person was going to kill themselves,” he said. “So it’s very difficult for law enforcement to know if a complete stranger really intends to do it.”

You can find more resources and information on mental health and suicide prevention here.

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