Resources & Education

April 1st, 2015

Warning signs of teen suicide

DepresyonConsider these statistics:

  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12.

However scary those stats can be, there is also hope — four out of five teens that attempt suicide give clear warning signs. These warning signs can be divided into three categories: behavioral, verbal and stressful life events.

Verbal Signs

Verbal signs can include an apparent fixation with death or dying, talking about dying or implying that no one would miss them if they were to pass on.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs can include poor school performance, depression, insomnia or excessive sleeping, with severe symptoms including writing or drawing scenes of death or self-destruction, drawing up plans for suicide or giving away possessions to loved ones. If these behaviors are coupled together, severe risk should be recognized and direct action taken.

Life Events

Stressful life events can trigger strong surges of depression or suicidal intent. However, a teenager with strong family connections and open communication within their relationships are more willing to talk when experiencing stress or anxiety than those that feel forced to repress their problems because parents make them feel “damaged,” or “wrong.” Support and reassure your teen with positive responses and encouragements.

For more risk factors and warning signs of suicide, please read this article: Preventing suicide begins with simple steps and attentive ears.

If you witness these signs or symptoms in a friend or loved one, it’s best to encourage them to seek professional help immediately and not to leave them alone.

In case of immediate crisis, call 9-1-1.

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