Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens. If you or someone you know is considering suicide or showing any of the warning signs, get help NOW! Contact the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE to speak to a trained counselor who can help you.
Most suicidal people exhibit warning signs. According to the American Association of Suicidology, a person who is suicidal:
- Talks about committing suicide
- Has trouble eating or sleeping
- Experiences drastic changes in behavior
- Withdraws from friends and/or social activities
- Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Prepares for death by making out a will and final arrangements
- Gives away prized possessions
- Has attempted suicide before
- Takes unnecessary risks
- Has had recent severe losses
- Is preoccupied with death and dying
- Loses interest in their personal appearance
- Increases their use of alcohol or drugs
Youth most prone to suicide may experience:
- Low self-esteem
- Perceived stress
- Family conflict
- Drug use
- Sexual activity at an early age
- Have easy access to a handgun
Know someone who is thinking of suicide? You can help them by:
- Being direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
- Being willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Being non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Getting involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Not daring him or her to do it.
- Not acting shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Not being sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
- Offering hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
- Taking action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
If you are experiencing any suicidal thoughts, you should seek help immediately. Call 1800-SUICIDE. There are SO many resources that can help you! If someone talks about suicide and asks you to keep it secret, be responsible and tell someone. Be a better friend by seeking help from a trustworthy adult.
Websites to Visit
Check out these websites for more information about suicide:
Suicide in Youth (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness):
- About 2 million U.S. adolescents attempt suicide each year; almost 700,000 receive medical attention for their attempt.
- 2.6% of students reported making a suicide attempt that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
- Each year in the U.S., about 2,000 youth complete suicide.
- Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among ages 15 to 24.
- More than 90% of youth suicide victims have at least one major psychiatric disorder.
Statistics – Suicide (Source: SADD):
- About 19% of high school students consider suicide.
- 15% of high school students make a plan to commit suicide.
- About 9% of high school students attempt suicide.
- Every 15 minutes a suicide occurs in the United States.
- Suicide has ranked among the 10 leading causes of death since 1975.
- For every two victims of homicide in the U.S. there are three deaths from suicide.
- Males ages 15 to 19 are five times as likely as females are to commit suicide.
- The strongest risk factors for suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse and aggressive behavior.