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Indiana Wrestles With Teen Suicide Rate

ISDH: Youth suicide rate is among nation's highest; opioids, shortage of specialists in adolescent mental health among factors

 

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana is trying to reduce a youth suicide rate that's among the worst in the country.

 

The State Department of Health says Indiana's teen suicide rate is the nation's third-highest. IU School of Medicine psychiatry professor Leslie Hulvershorn says teen suicide is on the rise nationally, but suggests there may be more of a stigma to getting mental health treatment than in other parts of the U.S. But she says the opioid epidemic also plays a role, and says Indiana has a shortage of mental health professionals specializing in children.

 

Hulvershorn says that's surprising, given doctors' average pay in Indiana relative to the nation. She says Indiana needs to attract more medical students to the specialty.

 

Hulvershorn says IU has been working on a form of telemedicine where a child psychiatrist would be on call to field questions from doctors about depressed patients. 25 states already have a similar system.

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