ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Adolescents and teens are suffering silently in schools and homes. The CDC recently released reports that show persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness among U.S. high school students, especially young girls and LGBTQ+ teens.

Bullying, social media, grief, genetics, and other disorders are among some of the reasons the youth today are considering alternate options, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“It’s one thing to think about suicide when young children are going to be curious about it,” said Guthrie Assistant Chief of Pediatrics Philip Heavner. “It’s another thing to contemplate suicide not really knowing what that means.”

Heavner stressed that the most important thing is to ask for help.

“There are folks who need additional help,” he said. “If you’re consistently getting negative feedback and you just feel like you’re really struggling, it is always appropriate to ask for some help through school counselor, through your provider or other mental health services.”

Another significant hurdle Heavner addressed is overcoming stigmas with your own mental health yourself.

“People don’t want to admit somethings going on because it makes them feel weak, or less powerful and then we extend that to our kids or family members,” Heavner explained. “I think we have to flip that and be their advocates and say you know just because were talking to somebody about our concerns doesn’t make you weak or there’s anything wrong with you.”

He said that when we can overcome our own fears and insecurities about asking for help and being honest, “things turn out much better.” And when it comes to kids, the most important thing is listening.