A new study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown a disturbing increase in the number of children seeking help for suicidal ideation and, Jackson Hole is no exception.
In 2020, nearly one-quarter of all deaths of children between the ages of 5 and 19 were due to suicide. The number of children seeking help with suicidal thoughts jumped nearly 60% from 2016-17 to 2019-21.
Sarah Cavallaro, Executive Director of Teton Youth & Family Services, said that over the past year, they’ve had two children as young as 9 seek help for suicidal ideation. The overall number of youth they have helped through thoughts of suicide has increased drastically over the past handful of years.
Local programs expose self-harm, depression in youth
In one of Teton Youth & Family Services’ recent programs, all 17 youth in that program had the primary identifying reasons for services as self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety. And from 2017 to 2021, the organization saw a 185% increase in demand for assistance for actively suicidal youth.
Cavallaro said it is critical to prevent and proactively care for mental health issues that our youth are experiencing.
Wyoming has the highest rate of suicides in the nation.
To help prevent youth suicide, experts recommend well-trained experts and around-the-clock resources to support families, especially in rural areas.
Jackson has resources
“It’s heartening to know that Teton Youth & Family Services is already providing these services to our community,” reflects Cavallaro. “But at the same time, it underscores that we have to ensure these resources continue to be available. We’re always working towards that goal, but without community support, it’s much more difficult to get there.”
Teton Youth & Family Services operates the county’s only 24-hour emergency suicide holding facility for youth under the age of 18.