Mass. doctors concerned about rise of suicidal thoughts in teens

Dr. Patricia Ibeziako: “Over the past six to eight months, the stresses that we’ve heard about from patients who are presenting with suicidality are academic struggles like declining grades, having difficulty focusing, family stresses and conflicts, and also social isolation and decreased social interactions. I must say, though, that school and academic stress have always been frequently reported — the most frequently reported stress in youth presenting to the hospital with mental health struggles. [Now] it’s just much higher volumes of patients and pandemic-related impact.”

Dr. Elizabeth Pinsky: “You think about the young people you know — the adolescents you know — who are going through the process that is completely normal and very important, of separating from their families and developing an identity outside of that … Those identities are an athlete, an actress, a friend, a person out in the community. And we have taken those things away from these kids in a way that really attacks the things that make kids really healthy. We know that kids who are committed to sports, who have activities, who sort of have good peer groups, do better. The losses that adolescents, in particular, are experiencing around identity and around who they are in the world, I think is one of the reasons that we’re seeing such an uptick in self-harm.”