(WKBN) – May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Experts say it is important for parents to discuss mental health with their children.

According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 years old.

Steward Health and Sharon Regional child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Steven Riggall says parents must have open communication with kids. He says parents are the first line of recognition to a mental health crisis.

“They might not learn what they need to learn or what they want to learn from a child the first time around, but they created a situation where the child’s concerns are going to be accepted and listened to,” he said.

Dr. Riggall says these conversations can be healing and can lead to the next steps toward treatment.

Right now, there is a shortage of psychiatrists, specifically ones who work with children.

Parents are encouraged to continue having open lines of communication while waiting for an appointment.

If your child has spoken out about having suicidal thoughts, experts say to go to the emergency room.