Preventing Teenage Suicide

Suicide is one of the leading causes of teenage death, especially between the ages of 15-19. Although teenage suicides tend to be impulsive it is important to notice their cries for help, attention and love before it is too late.

Teenage years are a confusing period for everyone. Teens are experiencing great change in their bodies, temperaments and minds every day and they have to deal with social, academic and individual pressures. Additional stress factors such as poor performance in the school, rivalry, fear of punishment, violence in the family, etc. can make teens feel that there’s nothing worth living for.

Feelings that Should be Addressed:

Teens choose death over life when the suffering becomes intolerable and there is no hope for change, possibility or improvement for a happier life in the future.

  • When things are this desperate, death and no pain me is better than life and pain. And therefore, they find an easy solution to all these problems, i.e “DEATH” and death means no more pain.

Facts About Teenage Suicide:

  • 90% of teen suicide cases show clear warning signs beforehand.
  • Teenage suicides are caused more often by depression rather than infectious or life-threatening diseases.
  • Not all suicidal teens are mentally depressed or ill.
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  • Most teenage suicides can be avoided by psychotherapy, a strong and positive safety network for the teen and effective communication between the teen and his or her mentors
  • Immediately after a large bout of depression, when a teenager may seem to be recovering, is a likely time for a teen to be suicidal.

Causes of Teenage Suicide:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence and other serious family issues
  • Poor academic performance
  • Depression and low self esteem
  • An abusive and unhealthy relationship
  • Feelings of guilt and anger
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Mental or physical disorders
  • Personal loss
  • Suicidal history within close circle

Warning Signs of Teen Suicide:

Parents, friends, teachers and other people in a teenager’s life should look out for the red signals that are an alert to a possible suicide attempt.  The following warning signs may be seen in combinations or all at once. Catching the signs early will be effective for preventing teen suicides.

  • Complaining of emptiness, sadness and fatigue
  • Neglect of appearance
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Jokes and statements about suicide and death
  • Not responding to compliments and praise
  • Sleep disorders and insomnia
  • Loss of interest in recreation and fun
  • Signs of hallucination
  • Appearing aloof and socially withdrawn
  • Difficulty concentrating on studies
  • Aggressive expression of anger and hatred
  • Verbal hints such as “ I won’t give problems or trouble you much longer”
  • Significant changes in weight and indigestion
  • Throwing or giving away important possessions
  • Meeting people he/she cares about

Preventing Teen Suicide:

  • Right after noticing any warning signs, parents should consult a mental health professional.
  • An in-depth psychological assessment may be followed with appropriate medications,
  • Parent must watch over their teen children and be with them through this difficult time and eventually help them understand the value of life and restore their hopes and dreams.
  • Allow the teenager to express themselves openly however and whenever they feel.
  • Avoid leaving the individual alone and have people whom he or she loves and cares about be around them as always. It can be his/her friend, guardian, family doctor, teacher or counselor.
  • Assure the person that their feelings are real and important but that they can change if they work on making positive changes.
  • Keep weapons such as blades, knife, medications and guns away from his/her reach.
  • Don’t argue and find faults of the person in their delicate state.

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