According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 24. And 12 percent of those who die between the ages of 10 and 14 do so by taking their own lives. These are some very sobering statistics. The importance of being on the alert for teen suicide warning signs is very important.
Teen suicide warning signs
Here are some of the teen suicide warning signs to be on the alert for:
• Dramatic changes in personality.
• Issues and trouble with friends and loved ones.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Signs of depression.
• Signs that your teenager may be involved in substance abuse.
• Change in quality of schoolwork.
• Changes in sleeping habits.
• Changes in eating habits.
• Doesn’t worry about appearance.
• Expresses the thought that no one cares.
• Talks about suicide.
• Considers running away.
• Difficulty coping with a teen pregnancy.
• Expresses a desire to stay home from school frequently.
• Complains regularly of being sick.
• Visits Web sites and joins social networks that discuss suicide
• Associates online with people who are making suicide pacts.
• Writes poems or stories, or draws pictures of, death.
• Makes plans to take own life.
• Previous suicide attempt.
Sometimes it can be difficult to separate teen suicide warning signs from normal teenage behavior. Some of the signs are common to normal adjustments made during the teen years. Other times, few of the signs appear, and it seems like a surprise when a teenager commits suicide. Be on the look out for behavior and signs that may indicate a more immediate need for help.
The most serious signs are those that indicate a concrete plan for taking one’s own life. Developing suicide scenarios and a previous attempt are things to be very wary of. Additionally, a lot of talk about suicide, and complaints that no one cares or understands should also be treated as something serious. Make sure that you understand what you are seeing, and don’t shrug it off merely as a joke, especially if the teen suicide warning signs occur with increasing frequency.
Getting help for teenagers thinking about suicide
If you have a teen showing suicide warning signs, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Especially if your teenager is making plans to commit suicide, or if he or she associates with people who are giving it a sort of dark glamour. It is very important that you find help as soon as possible for a suicidal teen.
In many cases, it is possible to help a suicidal teen by turning to the common remedies for depression. Counseling can help, as the teenager will learn ways to cope with the problems that he or she is facing in life. Counseling can sometimes be combined with medication, but it is important to be careful. In some cases medication has actually increased the chance that the teenager will commit suicide.
For some teenagers, more lasting help is needed. Residential facilities and therapeutic boarding schools allow teenagers to find support and help in a safe environment. If your teenager is showing severe signs of wanting to commit suicide, drastic help may be needed.
In any case, your support and love will be needed. It is vital that you show support, and that you avoid judging your teenager. You can be of material help in preventing teen suicide. You especially need to make sure that your teenager knows that there is someone who cares for him or her.
Continuing dialogue to prevent teen suicide
If your teenager has overcome his or her initial desire to commit suicide, it is still important for you to talk with him or her regularly (but necessarily about suicide). You need to touch base on a constant basis, and be available for emotional support. You also need to be on the watch for a return of the signs of teen suicide. Just because your teenager is over it for now doesn t mean that he or she won’t think of it again later.
Indeed, if your teenager regularly cycles through periods of severe depression and wants to kill him or herself regularly, perhaps more drastic treatment is necessary. A combination of techniques often works best. And it is important to note that change takes time. Your teenager won’t suddenly enjoy life overnight. You will need to help him or her persist in overcoming a desire to commit suicide.
Centers for Disease Control, “teen suicides report” [online]
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), [online]