JOPLIN, Mo. — Transitional ages — 5th grade to 6th… Middle school to high school… And graduating high school.
They’re important ages to keep an eye out for mental health issues, due to all the changes a child or young adult goes through during those times.
That’s the next part of our informative series, The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, and Awareness.
Deena Murdock, Will’s Place PATH Program Supervisor, “When they’re in 5th of 6th grade, that’s really that time when they enter those puberty years, so they also have changes of hormones that are happening, as well.”
Transitional years are such important times to pay attention to any issues a young person might be going through.
Deena Murdock, Will’s Place PATH Program Supervisor, “Those are the times when they’re really starting to develop those personalities. They’re starting to venture out more on their own. They’re making decisions about where they want to go in life, what they want to do.”
Deena Murdock is a licensed clinical social worker at Will’s Place and the pre-adult transitional housing program supervisor.
She says they often see individuals that need some help in managing the information overload in society during those transitional years.
“Often times, they’re seeing things in the news. They’re seeing things through social media. They get that on a consistent basis now.”
Notice any major changes during that time between elementary and middle school… Or middle to high school… Or even just after graduating high school.
Those changes are good red flags to look out for.
“Its important to be watching out for different things like changes in sleeping habits, changes in their eating habits, changes in just their daily routine.”
To help with mental wellness and decrease the risk of suicide, a child can help build resiliency — especially if they have a consistent, caring adult to lean on.
“It’s important that our teachers and parents and things like that are mindful of not only those changes that adolescents are dealings with, but then what are the potential signs that there might be something wrong?”
A trusting adult, part of a natural support system, to sit down and ask them how they’re doing.
“Somebody who is there no matter what’s going on in their life. No matter the difficulties they have, the choices that they have to make, but that one person is there that they can always count on.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.
We also have more resources for you on Four States homepage.com — just look for the suicide crisis tab.