Many young people may feel lonely, sad, and anxious
at times. It is a normal part of growing up. But for some, these feelings can become very powerful. A teen may feel helpless.
He or she may start to see suicide as the only way out. But choosing death is never a solution to a problem. It is only an
At one time, suicide was considered a disgrace.
In parts of Europe,
people who killed themselves were often buried at a crossroads. This was intended to draw attention and shame to the suicide.
For many years, suicide was considered a crime in some parts of the United States.
Many movies, plays, and books tell stories about
teens that killed themselves. Remember the two young lovers in Shakespeare's Romeo and Julie? They each took their own life
when they thought the other was dead.
But suicide is neither romantic nor glamorous. It
helps no one. Young people can be very unhappy at times. But they may not truly want to die. They may need to know that someone
cares. They may need to be shown that they have other choices. They need to be encouraged to choose life.
Suicide is always tragic. But it is especially sad
when a young person decides that life is not worth living. That person's friends and family will feel pain and grief for the
rest of their lives.
After ever teen suicide, grief-stricken friends
try to understand how someone they knew and loved could have such strong feelings. How could it happen without anyone else
knowing or being able to help? School counselors and teachers grieve too. They know that such death could almost certainly
have been prevented. Counseling, or "crisis intervention," can save lives. But people must be aware in order to help.
What makes teens feel so bad?
It is not possible to list all the reasons why teens
decide to take their own lives. But here are some of the more common causes:
1- Feeling rejected, abandoned, or alone
2- Low self-esteem, or feeling like a failure
3- Feeling ashamed, unworthy of forgiveness
4- Pressures at school, home or with friends
5- Problems with alcohol or drugs
6- Feelings of hopelessness or depression (sadness that does not go
away and has no clear cause)
7- Feeling afraid of something or someone
Often teens that kill themselves have had upsetting
experiences of some kind. Young suicide victims may leave notes behind when they die.
They list reasons like these:
1- Breaking up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend
2- Doing poorly in school, or not being accepted for a job or by a
3- Not doing well in sports or other activities
4- Moving and leaving friends behind, or having a good friend move
5- Divorce or other problems in the family (such as alcohol, drugs
or sexual abuse)
6- Being unable to repay a large debt
7- A serious physical injury or illness
8- Being responsible for an injury to another person
9- Having committed a serious crime
10- The death of a parent, close friend, or other family member
It's not easy being a teen. Some of the problems
teen suicide victims list may seem much more serious than others. But all of these problems are very real to the people who
These problems can also trigger some of the uncomfortable
feelings listed first. For example, a parent's divorce may make a teen feel rejected and abandoned. He or she may not be able
to cope with new pressures at home. The teen years are full of powerful and confusing emotions that can last a long time.
Young people who say they want to die often think
these painful feelings will never go away. They are wrong. Bad feelings can go away. It may not be easy to work through these
feelings and it will probably take time. But it is possible to get help and turn your life around. For teens who are deeply
troubled, there is no time to waste. For them, it may be a matter of life or death.
Each year in the U.S.,
thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading
cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.
Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress,
confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teens, suicide
may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.
Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable mental
disorders. The child or adolescent needs to have his or her illness recognized and diagnosed, and appropriate treatment plans
developed. When parents are in doubt whether their child has a serious problem, a psychiatric examination can be very helpful.
Many of the symptoms of suicidal feelings are similar to those of
Parents should be aware of the following signs
of adolescents who may try to kill themselves:
1- Change in eating and sleeping habits
2- Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
3- Violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away
4- Drug and alcohol use
5- Unusual neglect of personal appearance
6- Marked personality change
7- Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the
quality of schoolwork
8- Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions,
such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
9- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
10- Not tolerating praise or rewards
11- A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also:
12- Complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside
13- Give verbal hints with statements such as: I won't be a problem
for you much longer, nothing matters, it’s no use, and I won't see you again
14- Put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite
possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc.
15- Become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
16- Have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts)
If a child or adolescent says, I want to kill myself,
or I'm going to commit suicide, always take the statement seriously and immediately seek assistance from a qualified mental
health professional. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether
he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than putting thoughts in the child's head, such a
question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.
If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need
to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional help when the concerns persist. With support from family
and professional treatment, children and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a healthier path of development.