MN Suicide – Child Suicide – What We Don’t Know

May 7, 2016 in Kids At Risk Action (KARA) by Mike Tikkanen

image001MN suicide is up 30% these past ten years.  Add to that 900 emergency psych visits at HCMC each month (in just one metro hospital), County sheriff’s threatening to sue local governments for failure to provide timely mental health services and a host of other overdue mental health conversations need to be had;

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children

  • 20,000 American infants and 2 year olds were proscribed psychotropic medications in 2014 and billions in fines were levied against pharmaceutical companies for illegally selling these drugs to pediatricians for use on children (to no apparent affect).
  • Every year, 1/3 of foster kids in the U.S. use psychotropic medications & 2/3 of youth in the juvenile justice system have diagnosable mental health problems (half that number have multiple, serious and chronic conditions – and tons of psychotropic medications).
  • The lack of data and transparency about mental health services being provided to troubled children, juveniles & adults in schools, jails, prisons & child protection means that legislators and the public to avoid the hard conversations that could determine the steps required to address these problems.

When 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson suicided by hanging in Brooklyn Park 2 years ago, the Medical Examiner and Deputy Police Chief dithered over the cause of death and finally remarked that 6 year olds very rarely committed suicide.  While it is true that six year olds have a very hard time succeeding at suicide, it is not true that state ward children don’t try.

After many years as a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem I’ve seen many children do horrid things to themselves and speak openly about self-hatred and forced on to psychotropic medications.

For those of you who don’t know, each package of psychotropic medications comes with a written warning that the drug may cause suicidal ideation (fully formed thoughts of killing oneself in color and delivered as if from above – there is no thinking involved, it just happens).

When 7 year old  foster child Gabriel Myers killed himself and left a note about how he hated being force fed Prozac a few years ago, I had hoped that the wool would come off of our eyes and we might show a little more kindness to children that had already suffered more trauma by the age of 7 that the average adult could suffer in 10 lifetimes.

That has not been the case.

We should talk more about these things.

Note;  I’ve lost 2 close & beautiful human beings to suicide in my life.  A friend, Tommy Garretson and a cousin, Ron Mahla.  Stress is real, it kills people.  Talking about mental health is part of the solution.  Not talking about depression, trauma, and suicide does not help (especially the the children that need help).