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Janet V. Johnson, MD
Teen Suicide
Loving Care Pediatrics

Teen Suicide

Teen Suicide

Teen Suicide Statistics

  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers – it’s the third leading cause of death.
  • Every 17 minutes a teen succeeds in taking life.
  • Teen suicide is a very real problem, causing the deaths of thousands of teenagers across the country each year. Teen suicide statistics shed light on the problem, and offer insights as to whom might need help, and how to help them.

Teen Suicide Attempts Are Calls For Help

Many teenagers have thoughts of death. It is important to take suicide attempts seriously.

The National Institute of Mental Health believes that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for each one that is completed. And this does not even cover the teenage suicide attempts and completed suicides that are never heard about.

Understanding that a teen suicide attempt is a call for help is essential in preventing a completed attempt later.

Risk Factors For Teenage Suicide

Some of the strongest teenage suicide risk factors include the following:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Depression

These are risk factors that play on the often tumultuous feelings experienced by teenagers. Intense feelings can contribute to a teen’s sense of helplessness and to a general feeling that life is not worth living.

Taking these feelings seriously is an important part of preventing teen suicide.

Another risk factor to consider is the presence of firearms. Because firearms are used in more than half of teen suicides, it is important to realize that easy access to a firearm and ammunition can contribute to a teenage death by suicide. Teenagers who express suicidal thoughts and feelings should not have ready access to firearms.

Teen Suicide Warning Signs

Studies show that four out of five teen suicide attempts have been preceded by clear warning signs, make sure you know them. With many pressures and a variety of emotional, social and family issues to confront, many teenagers find themselves having suicidal thoughts.

  • Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
  • Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
  • Hard time concentrating and paying attention
  • Declining grades in school
  • Loss of interest in school work
  • Risk taking behaviors
  • Complains more frequently of boredom
  • Does not respond as before to praise
  • Disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities
  • Problems at work and losing interest in a job
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug use
  • Behavioral problems
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Sleep changes
  • Changes in eating habits

Teenage Suicide Prevention

Suicidal behavior in teens can lead to tragic consequences. It is important to realize the stakes in preventing teen suicide. Teen suicide prevention requires diligence on the part of guardians, as well as a willingness to seek professional help when it is needed.

One of the most important aspects of teen suicide prevention is support. The teenager needs to know that you support and love him or her, and that you are willing to help him or her find hope in life again. One of the most effective ways to prevent teen suicide is to educate your self and recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts and feelings, and seek professional help.

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