Teen Suicide: the Warning Signs, and Where to Get Help

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all persons. It is the third leading cause of death for young people aged fifteen to twenty four, and the fourth leading cause of death for children aged ten to fourteen.  The three leading causes of death in teens and young adults: accident, homicide, and suicide -are all preventable.

We think that it can't happen in our family, but statistics say it can. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24. While boys are more likely than girls to try to commit suicide, girls have more unsuccessful suicide attempts.

Many of the signs of a pending suicide attempt are similar to the signs of depression. Parents of teens should be aware of some of the warning signs of depression and suicide.

1. Dramatic personality changes

2. Withdrawal from friends and family members

3. Trouble in romantic relationships

4. A preoccupation with death and dying

5. Writing or drawing pictures about death

6. Running away from home; changes in eating habits

7. Unusual gift-giving or giving away their own possessions

8. Rebellious behaviors

9. Family difficulties; the loss of a loved one

9. Changes in appearance (for the worse)

10. Depression

11. Someone the teen knows has committed suicide

Threats of suicide or preoccupation with suicide are a medical emergency and should never be ignored. If you even suspect your child is contemplating suicide ACT QUICKLY.  Suicide is preventable if you get the help your teen needs right away.

Suicide is an act of desperation. The person may not want to die, they just don't feel they can continue living with the deep darkness they are feeling.

If your child is depressed or you think they may be considering suicide, get help immediately. The following resources will be helpful.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, 1-866-SAFEYOUTH (1-866-723-3968), www.safeyouth.org.  Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern time

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention http://www.mentalhealth.org/suicideprevention/

Sources:

(1) Mullen, P.E., et. al., "The Long-term Impact of the Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse of Children: A Community Study," Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 7-21, 1996 (Pergamon)

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