Pitt County psychologist weighs in on rising suicide rates in U.S.

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - According to the CDC, the suicide rates in 2016 are over 30 percent higher than in 1999. An eastern Carolina Psychologist shares opinions and advice to help decrease the rising numbers, especially among young people.

Studies in the medical journal JAMA found a significant increase in ages 15 to 24, which means the rates of young people increased from eight per 100,000 people to 11.8 to 100,000.

Lori Jones has been a licensed psychologist for nearly 20 years and says the students she works with deal with many challenges.

"With technology, we know that children and anything they post can go out, and so with that comes an increase in bullying," Jones said.

A new North Carolina bill is being proposed to allow a better staffing ratio for student counselors. Jones believes the lack of resources could be affecting the rate.

"Students do not often have enough support of related service personnel such as school nurses, school psychologists, school counselors," Jones said.

To shed light on the issue, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has local community walks to fight suicide. McCauley Reese is a volunteer with AFSP, and she deals with her own mental issues. She says her children keep her grounded. She says loneliness contributes to why some consider taking their own lives.

Reese said, "Other people care. A lot of people feel like they're alone. And you don't want people to feel alone because if they feel alone, they feel like they have no other choice."

Although the next AFSP walk isn't until September, Jones says there are still things you can do to help. She reminds us that it's a myth that asking about suicide may encourage someone to take their life. She encourages parents to start asking their children questions, as it may spark a very important conversation.