Suicide is a complex topic since it comes at the intersection of mental illness, strong emotions, and impulsivity. So the combination of those things that plays out in each teen is different, so no two suicides are exactly the same.
Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Often, people blame the victims for their suicide, and then their families and friends are thought badly of. So, people do not talk freely openly about suicide. And that is exactly what will help reduce suicides and suicide attempts: Open discussion and health education.
Why would someone want to die? There are a few reasons – either a person has depression or another mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance that makes them feel mental pain and like death is the only solution. Sometime their problems are overwhelming, such as drug or alcohol abuse, dating abuse or family violence, family financial problems. While you probably can’t solve these problems for a friend or classmate, you may be able to help the person find someone who can help. To do this, though, you need to know the warning signs.
A few numbers for you to understand the problem:
- More than 1,600 teenagers (ages 13-19) die by suicide each year in the United States
- More than 72,000 teens are treated in emergency rooms each year for self-inflicted injuries
- Among high school students:
- 7.8 % self-reported having attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months.
- 2.4 % reported having made a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdoes that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
- 12.8 % reported having made a plan for a suicide attempt in the previous 12 months.
- 15.8 % reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months.
So that said, I think the best use of this post is to get some tools out there to you for you or for your friends. Tools and contact numbers if you are feeling suicidal. A lot of people look for help on line, but nothing is as helpful as a real, live interaction with someone that you respect – a parent, a doctor, a teacher, a school administrator, a school nurse – don’t be scared to reach out for help with these people. A note, too, as with all my topics, this post is not a substitute for medical care – it is just a means to get information out there to help teens and their friends – just like you.
So, news you can use:
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or visit the web here .
Suicide has many warning signs. Some of these are:
Warning Signs of Acute Risk:
- Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and/or,
- Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Feeling trapped - like there’s no way out
- Withdrawal from friends, family and society
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes.
For more information:
Visit the American Association of Suicidology's Website
And more specifically for teens: You Matter
And to get help for you or for a friend right now: Get Help - You Matter
This is another great place where a lot of info for teens is found in one place from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Check it out: The Role of Teens in Preventing Suicide Topics include: The Loss of a Loved One by Suicide, Taking Care of Yourself, Seeking Professional Support, Supporting Survivors, Helping Young People Cope with Suicide, Warning Signs and Risk Factors, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Resources for Survivors, and a lot more. Really reader-friendly and a ton of great information for you.
So the message is – if you or a friend is thinking about suicide, get help. There are a lot of people in your lives that can help – even if it doesn’t feel that way. And the person that you think you can trust may be different than the person another person can trust – and that is OK. And if you are still not sure, these are great online resources staffed by people whose entire purpose is to prevent suicides and to help counsel people at risk for suicide.
And once more: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or visit the web here
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Suicide Prevention Lifeline; American Association of Suicidology; Suicide Prevention Resource Center