This is something more parents need to be aware of, via The New York Times:
The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves.
Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students’ mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives.
The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students even as greater Las Vegas continues to post huge numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.
Superintendents across the nation are weighing the benefit of in-person education against the cost of public health, watching teachers and staff become sick and, in some cases, die, but also seeing the psychological and academic toll that school closings are having on children nearly a year in. The risk of student suicides has quietly stirred many district leaders, leading some, like the state superintendent in Arizona, to cite that fear in public pleas to help mitigate the virus’s spread.
In Clark County, it forced the superintendent’s hand.
“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”
…Even in normal circumstances, suicides are impulsive, unpredictable and difficult to ascribe to specific causes. The pandemic has created conditions unlike anything mental health professionals have seen before, making causation that much more difficult to determine.
But Greta Massetti, who studies the effects of violence and trauma on children at the C.D.C., said there was “definitely reason to be concerned because it makes conceptual sense.” Millions of children had relied on schools for mental health services that have now been restricted, she noted.
And save this number, for the suicide prevention hotline: 800-273-8255. Learn more.