Examining perceptions of the growing number of children dying by suicide in the United States : an explanatory sequential mixed-method study.


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Far too many children die from suicide each year. Children dying by suicide is not only a world-wide crisis but one that is also specific to the United States of America. Despite the growing number of suicides in the United States, there is a lack of proactive solutions to help children and youth. The increasing number of children and youth suicides has negatively impacted the culture and climate of many elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States and worldwide. Some possible causes of this problem include the growing use of digital technology to communicate, the introduction of social media at younger ages, and the lack of time spent building meaningful relationships with adults. This study focuses on several key topics: the rising number of suicides, the reason this number is rising, and possible solutions for this problem, including relationship and rapport building with youth and children. This study explores the perspectives of parents, educators, and community members. This study’s theoretical framework utilizes elements from the Ethics of Care from Nel Noddings (2012), as well as the Capturing Kids’ Hearts process developed by Flip Flippen (2005). Noddings’ development of Ethics of Care posits the importance of first building relationships and having empathy and concern for others. Flippen asserts that teachers can impact students’ lives by building relationships and opening their hearts and minds. Educators build relationships with students, fellow staff members, parents, and community members daily. The relationships developed by educators are critical to student success and their well-being. By investigating the perceptions of educators, family members, and community members regarding the rising suicidal deaths of children, better prevention strategies to help remedy the situation will surface. A more proactive, rather than reactive, approach to these tragic deaths can help alleviate the issue. The explanatory sequential mixed-methods design begins with quantitative data collection and analysis, and is followed by a Qualtrics questionnaire for parents, educators, and community members about the rising number of youth and child suicide. Qualitative data analysis commences from the short answer questions which share perspectives of participants to capture views in participants’ own words.



Suicide prevention. Teen suicide.