Teen suicide is becoming a very real problem in our society. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24. And, for ages 10 to 14, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death. It is also worth noting that 60 percent of high school students say that they have thought about suicide for themselves.
It is very clear that steps should be taken to prevent teen suicide. It is important that you take appropriate action to help protect your teenager. Here are some things that you should do if you are worried that your teenager might attempt to commit suicide:
Talk about teen suicide. Don’t be silent. If you are worried about teen suicide, ask your teenager if he or she has thought about killing him or herself. Interestingly enough, teen suicide prevention is more likely if you get the issue out in the open. You can even use the word “suicide.” You need to make sure you talk about it in a fashion that makes it clear you are not judging your teenager.
Show love to your teenager. Teen suicide prevention efforts are more likely to be successful when your teenager feels loved. Make sure that you show love to your teen. Also, let him or her know that you are there to help with problems. Make it clear that you are willing to help your teenager work through his or her issues and find practical solutions to problems. But don’t start solving the problem for your teenager. The first step is to let him or her know that you are willing to help.
Listen to your teenager. Encourage your suicidal teen to talk to you about his or her feelings. Listen carefully, and try to understand. Avoid showing anger or dismissing problems as trivial. You need to let your teen know that you are listening, that you understand and that you won t be judgmental.
Keep lethal weapons out of your home. Many teen suicides take place in the home. This means that it is important that your teenager not have access to pills, knives, guns, ropes and other deadly weapons at home. You want to make it more difficult for your teenager to find the means to commit suicide.
Getting professional help in teen suicide prevention
One of the main things you can do for your suicidal teen is to get professional help. You can call your family doctor for guidance and for a referral. Professional help for a depressed or suicidal teen can help prevent suicide by teaching the teenager to cope with his or her problems. There are many help options available for teen suicide prevention:
Counseling. Consider getting a professional counselor to help your teen work through his or her problems. Some teenagers prefer to talk about their feelings to someone who is not already emotionally involved. Family counseling sessions can also be helpful in terms of showing your suicidal teen that he or she is not alone.
Residential teen suicide prevention. If you are worried that you can’t watch your teenager all day every day to prevent teen suicide, you might consider a residential facility. There are boarding schools and residential facilities that specialize is treating teen depression and focus on teen suicide prevention. These facilities offer around the clock care, counseling and special watch to prevent a teen from killing him or herself.
One of the most effective teen suicide prevention techniques falls to the parents, friends and relatives of the teenager. If a teen feels loved and appreciated, he or she is much less likely to fall victim to teen suicide.
Centers for Disease Control, “teen suicides report” [online]
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), [online]