As a parent, you want to give your child the best possible opportunities in life. Unfortunately, some of the decisions that you make out of necessity for your own health and well-being could have a damaging effect on your child's psychological health. Certain family situations can increase the risk of teen stress and depression, including parental divorce.
Researchers have found a concerning trend of higher rates of teenage suicide across the United States in general, but in Colorado specifically. Out of the entire country, the increase in suicide rate was the sharpest in Colorado between 2016 and 2019.
While there is no direct proof that divorce definitely plays a role, researchers also point to the fact that many of these children came from divorced families as a sign that parents need to be more proactive about caring for their children during and after a divorce.
Bullying, a family history of mental health issues and abuse are also factors that increase a teen's risk of suicide.
Learn to watch for and identify warning signs
Researchers have noted that certain groups are more susceptible to successful suicide than others. White teenagers and white males specifically seem to be the most impacted by the increase in suicide rates. That doesn't mean that teenagers of other races don't also attempt or commit suicide, only that white male teenagers seem to do so at a higher rate than in other populations.
It's also worth noting that while young women may be more likely to attempt suicide, young men are more likely to follow through and complete the act, often because they use more violent methods like firearms.
Teenagers going through depression has arguably always been part of adolescence, at least for some youths. However, if depressive episodes last for protracted amounts of time, if your teen disengages from things that they used to find enjoyable, if they stop caring for themselves (not showering or brushing their teeth) or if they start giving away their possessions, immediate intervention may become necessary.
You and your ex need to put your child's mental health first
There is no question that parental divorce is a traumatic experience for children and teenagers. It can be made worse by parents who push their kids into the middle of their fights or who talk poorly about the other parent in front of the children.
Instead of trying to cut your ex out of your life and the lives of your children, view them as the critical resource they are and work with them to help keep your children as healthy and happy as possible after your divorce.
If you have any concerns about your child's emotional stability or mental health, you should absolutely address it with the other parent, who may have noticed similar symptoms but didn't want to cause a panic. Working together to support your child can give your family the best chances of overcoming the mental health issues that may stem from familial instability.