Teenage Suicide: Facts, Signs & Taking Action

Anxiety | Mental Health | Parenting

What are the facts regarding teenage suicide?

• More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease.

• About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths.

Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.

• 80% -90% of teenagers that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.

 

What are signs of teenage depression?

  1. Sudden, abrupt changes in personality
  2. Expressions of hopelessness and despair
  3. Declining grades and school performance
  4. Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  5. Increased irritability and aggressiveness
  6. Withdrawal from family, friends and relationships
  7. Lack of hygiene
  8. Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  9. Preoccupation with death

 

What other signs should I look for?

  1. Struggles with depression.
  2. The individual is being bullied
  3. Complains of being a bad person, or not worthy.
  4. Experiencing a recent loss – a loved one, relationship, etc.
  5. Feelings of loneliness or abandonment
  6. Feelings of shame, guilt, humiliation or rejection
  7. Physical complaints, such as head-aches, stomach-aches, loss of energy, etc.
  8. Problems staying focused or paying attention

 

What if I know someone who is depressed and I think they might hurt themselves?

  1. Take threats seriously and take action:
    • “I’d be better off dead.”
    • “I won’t be bothering you much longer.”
    • ”You’ll be better off without me around.”
    • “I hate my life.”
  2. Be available to listen, don’t try resolve their problems or give advice.
  3. Keep a very close eye on a teenager who is depressed and withdrawn.
  4. Encourage them to reach out to people available to them.
  5. Encourage the individual to seek out a counselor.

 

How to take action:

  1. If someone is actively threatening to harm themselves, or you believe they may hurt themselves, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. Call 911 IMMEDIATELY and notify a parent if it is a teenager. Even if they retract a suicidal threat, action must be taken.
  2. Please share the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and encourage people you know to do the same. This is a resource available 24/7 to everyone, not just those in crises, but also their friends and loved ones who are there to support them. 1-800-273-8255 or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  3. If you are seeking a counselor and need help doing so, please call our offices at 210-481-3727 or reach out to us on our website at www.pacecounselinggroup.com.

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