Sunday, May 11, 2014

Teen Suicide - What Are the Risk Factors and Warning Signs?

Teen Suicide Statistics

In the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Now, suicide is among the 3 leading causes of death for youths aged 15- 24.

Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides. While girls tend to make more attempts, boys succeed more often.

The reason is that boys have a tendency to use guns which are far more irrevocable than overdosing with sleeping pills.

As parents and teachers, we need to be more aware about the threat suicide is to our adolescent population. Teen suicide is a problem that requires our vigilance and attention.

The problem is that teens often go through periods of moodiness and anxiety; there is a tendency on our parts to dismiss warning signs as "just puberty." Emotional disturbance or depression can be a catalyst for suicide.

What are some signs of depression in your teen?

- Behavior problems at school. Any kind of unusual behavior is a red flag. Consult teachers about your child's situation at school.

- Withdrawing from family and friends. This is especially important when the behavior is not typical or your teen. Encourage him or her to discuss negative or fearful feelings.

- Complaints of headaches, tiredness or generally not feeling well. If complaints persist, take your teen to the doctor for a thorough checkup.

- Loss of interest in school. Even a shift from B's to D's can be a signal of potential problems.

- Drugs and Alcohol use. This is a red flag that requires attention.

- Sleep changes, whether they are oversleeping or insomnia, can be signs of anxiety and depression.

- Changes in eating habits, whether they be overeating or under-eating also require attention.

- Disinterest in a favorite hobby or activity.

- Lack of attention to personal hygiene or personal appearance is often a "Why Care?" signal.

- Does not respond to praise or seems upset when praised.

Be mindful of the fact that teenagers are going through emotional fluctuations and hormonal changes, so not all signs indicate teen suicide.

However, there are 5 definite signs that are indications that a suicide plan is in place and that immediate intervention is needed.

Five Teen Suicide Warning Signs

1.Makes frequent references to death or expresses a desire to kill himself or herself.

2.Verbal hints such as "In case something happens to me, I want you...."

3.Writes suicide notes and leaves them around.

4.Preoccupation with songs of death, websites about death or killing oneself.

5.Gives favorite possessions away.

What are some Risk Factors for Teen Suicide?

-Breakup in a romantic relationship

-Recent loss of a friend or family member

-Loss of a parent due to divorce


-Victim of Bullying

-Unplanned Pregnancy

-Problem with the law

The best antidote to suicidal behavior is providing our youth with the sense that no matter how terrible one's situation may be, there is a way out and there is support.

We must ensure that communication between us and our teens remain strong and committed. They must know that there are people who care, who will not judge them for what they have done and will be there to help them pick up the pieces.

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