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Study Warns That Kids Can Become Suicidal As Young As 5 Years Old

Flickr / PROTjook

Depression, by definition, is a bummer at any age. But when it comes to your kid it’s an entirely different animal — one much uglier than Eeyore. Not only can the depression change you kid’s behavior, it can actually change how their tiny brain develops. And, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics warns that suicidal behavior could escalate in children as young as 5 years old, which is an understandably hard antidepressant to swallow.

Researchers analyzed surveillance data obtained from National Violent Death Reporting System regarding suicide deaths from 2003 to 2012 across 17 states. The data specifically looked at nearly 700 children ages 5 to 14 and found that primarily boys were at risk. Eighty-five percent of male children ages 5 to 11 died by suicide, as did 70 percent of males ages 12 to 15. The analysis also revealed that 40 percent of the suicides in kids ages 5 to 11 occurred with African-American children (again, mostly boys) and one third of them had pre-existing mental health problems (60 percent were diagnosed with ADHD and 66 percent with depression). Perhaps most disturbing was the fact suffocation and strangulation were the common methods among this age group.

Before you curse a world where something like this could happen, it’s important to note that the study found the suicide rate among the 5 to 11 age group to be very low overall, about 0.17 per 100,000 children. Still, just knowing that it happens at all brings up a possibility that most parents can’t bear to think about. So take proactive measure, learn how to recognize depression in your kid, and know exactly what to do about it. No parent wants to play even the lowest of odds.

[H/T] CBS News