Why Youth Mental Health & Suicide Matters to Everyone

Dr. Mark Goulston

Adults must learn new tools, techniques and listening skills to help kids understand their thoughts and emotions.

In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… you’ll find out that kids are killing themselves more often and at younger ages. Suicide prevention expert Dr. Mark Goulston joins the show to discuss the very real and very urgent topics of youth mental health and suicide—from pre-teens to teens to young adults. These issues concern everyone, not only families, educators or professionals who connect with young people. Here’s why:

Suicide shows up in the top three causes of death in young people between the ages of 10-24. More specifically, 2020 stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports show:

  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10-14
  • Suicide was the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15-24

Young people are hurting. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that nearly 20% of high school students say they’ve had serious thoughts of suicide and 9% have made an attempt to take their lives. Dr. Mark explains that many young people struggling mentally and emotionally feel like they’re a burden to everyone. They don’t have confidence that parents can help them feel better.

The causes are many and varied, although one in particular stands out: “To a certain extent, the internet has addicted the world to adrenaline rushes,” Dr. Mark says. “What’s happened is there’s a chemical called oxytocin that is atrophying. Oxytocin is the chemical that underlies emotional connection.”

You’ll learn a lot during this conversation, such as:

  • factors driving teen mental health issues and teen suicide.
  • what’s going on in the teen brain from a developmental perspective that leads them to think that death is a preferable alternative to working through life situations.
  • signs or red flags that a teen is struggling.
  • how parents and adults often can diminish or dismiss teens’ emotions, situations with friends or love relationships.
  • what emotional intelligence skills are most useful for parents/adults to better understand teens.
  • how to talk to teens—whether you’re a parent or a caring adult in a teen’s life.
  • how to improve listening in a culture dominated by tech.
  • how to listen to teens and help them realize and understand their emotions—without cutting them off, interrupting them, or jumping to advice and solutions.
  • when to seek professional intervention.

Dr. Mark developed Surgical Empathy—an approach that reaches people in the core of their pain. This approach helps people break their attachments to destructive mindsets and behaviors. During his 40+ years of professional psychiatric practice, none of his patients died from suicide.

Watch this episode on YouTube!

“Do not do a heart-to-heart talk with your teenagers that they don't initiate. It is nails on a chalkboard. They don't like it.”

Dr. Mark Goulston

More about Dr. Mark Goulston: A retired psychiatrist, former UCLA professor of psychiatry and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Mark’s still very much involved in this vital work. He recently received the “Shine the Light Media Award” from the Los Angeles County Medical Association for bringing attention to teen mental health and suicide. He’s the author or co-author of nine books translated into 42 languages. His book, “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone,” ranks in the 15 Best Communication Skills Books of All Time.

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