Risk factors and what to watch out for teen suicide
Teen Suicide- Identifying the Risk Factors
suicide at any age is awful. When it involves a teenager, who has a life full of potential ahead of them, it is almost too
awful. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24 and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death
among college students.
The statistics and methods for
calculating mortality can differ in different countries but one thing is clear, teen suicide is on the increase. The statistics
suggest that while women make more attempts at suicide, men are more likely to succeed. In fact there are 4 male suicides
for every 1 female suicide.
In the course of development adolescence is recognized as one of
the most volatile. Adolescence is characterized by role change; communication can be problematic; teens often feel very isolated.
Sometimes an event in life can seem so terrible and painful that suicide is viewed as the only solution.
Some suicides are planned and some are impulsive. The list below
gives some warning signs that a teen may be seriously considering suicide. If a parent or friend knows what to look out for,
it may help avoid another teen suicide.
Suicide Warning SignsOne of the significant warning signs is a previous suicide attempt
Marked changes in personality, mood
Giving away personal possession, cleaning their room and throwing
out things they own
Talking about suicide, wanting to die, saying life is not worth
living, or expressing feelings of worthlessness
Depression, great sadness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or guilt
Feelings of isolation and loneliness
Changes to sleep patterns (such as excessive sleeping, early morning
wakening, not sleeping well)
Withdrawing from activities and family
Having difficulty communicating. Being unable or having great difficulty
Changes to eating habits and appetite
Inability to concentrate
Losing interest in things they previously enjoyed
Having a friend or family member who has committed suicide
Using drugs or alcohol. There is some evidence that people who
use are more likely to make a successful suicide attempt
Sudden marked behavioral changes such as restlessness or reckless
Changes in academic performance
Loss of interest in personal appearance
Marks of self harming such as scratches or wounds on the body
Teen Suicide Risk Factors
There are times in a teenagers
life that can contribute or make a teen more vulnerable to a suicidal act. These include;
The breakup of a relationship
with a girlfriend. This is one of the most common causes and a very significant event.
Failing or doing badly in a test
Recent loss of a friend, a family member, a pet from death or suicide. Sometimes, very rarely, a suicide
in a school or community can act as a trigger for other teens
Loss of a parent due to divorce
Being a victim
Problems with the law
An unplanned pregnancy
Causing injury or death to another person
of a tragic event
Some of the signs are more obvious than others. It may be a combination
of them that will be significant and an expert in the field will be able to make that judgement and provide the support and
possible treatment the person needs.
Getting Help for those at Suicide Risk
for teens expressing suicidal intent or showing the warning signs is so important. There are a number of avenues open to you
to get the teenager the help they need. Support and reassurance are important. Help is available from a number of different
sources; school, school councilors, teachers, family doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, voluntary organizations,
community mental health center, local hospital or social agency.
In Urgent Situations
Contact your family doctor,
or consult a mental health doctor urgently If a teen is in what you believe to be in imminent danger call 911, do not leave
them. If the guardian of the affected teen does not seem to respond to your information to help and you believe the teen is
at risk of suicide contact your local family or psychiatric services and they can make an evaluation. Sometimes a parent or
guardian is unable to see or judge the urgency of the situation.
Suicide Cannot Always be Prevented
may come with no warnings signs or warning signs may be missed and intent misjudged. Experts in the field can find it difficult
to judge a person's mental state, so parents and friends do not always make the right decision either.