Youth suicide rates were escalating pre-pandemic. Here’s how to keep the coronavirus crisis from making it worse.

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September is National Suicide Prevention Month, an annual U.S. campaign to raise awareness for suicide, and National Suicide Prevention Week, a dedicated time “to share resources and stories,” runs from Sunday to Saturday. Amid rising suicide rates among youth and the mental health threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic, experts are sharing tips for helping teens and children.

Suicides are increasing among young Americans — an April study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the rate of suicide in the U.S. jumped up 35 percent from 1999 through 2018, including increases in children between the ages of 10 to 14. And October 2019 data released by the CDC found that teen suicide rates skyrocketed by nearly 56 percent from 2007 to 2017. The data also showed that suicide was the second-leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 in 2017.

It’s important to remember the aforementioned data was collected in a pre-pandemic setting. But now, with youth facing a pandemic and widespread social unrest, some mental health experts are worried that those numbers could increase.

“Given the unique conditions in our society in 2020 — the pandemic, violence, racial unrest, political conflict, destructive leadership and climate change — young people have been infused with hopelessness in unprecedented doses,” clinical psychologist John Mayer, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Life. “Add these external forces to the expected feelings of angst that are common in youth, and this results in overwhelming feelings of dread in young people.”

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