Preventing Teen Suicide
While bullying gets worse online and as social media advances, suicide unfortunately becomes a last resort for many teenagers each year. With suicide being one of the top reasons for death among teenagers, it's becoming very important to be able to help teens who are need of it. Often times, teenagers give off warning signs that they are struggling, but their parents and friends often don't realize it. Learning about suicide warning signs and ways to help struggling teenagers becomes beneficial for everyone across the world.
Teen Suicide Warning Signs
-Previous suicide attempt (s)
-Mental health disorders
-Alcohol and/or substance abuse
-Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, loneliness, or worthlessness
-Loss of interest in friends, hobbies, or activities previously enjoyed
-Bullied in school or online
-Disruptive behavior, including disciplinary problems at school or at home
-High risk behaviors (drinking and driving, poor decision-making)
-Recent/serious loss (death, divorce, separation, broken romantic relationship,)
-Family history of suicide
-Family violence (child abuse or neglect)
-Sexual orientation and identity confusion (lack of support or bullying during the coming out process)
-Sleeping too little or too much
Things not to say
“You shouldn’t be feeling this way.”
“It’s not that bad.”
"Some people have it worse."
“You should count yourself lucky.”
“How can you be feeling so bad when you have such a good life?"
"Grow up. It's not that bad."
"I don't know how to help you."
Helping Suicidal Teens
Emergency Assistance: If you’re worried that your child will attempt suicide, you need to call 911, or whatever the emergency mental health access number is in your community. Never assume that your child is over exaggerating, because that's a not a good chance to take. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are ALWAYS considered an emergency and should be treated as such.
Therapy: Some teens will want to go to therapy when you bring up the idea, but a lot of them won’t, especially if they've never been before. For those who are resistant, understand that forcing them to go typically won't help the situation, but you can help guide them towards treatment by talking to them about it and helping them understand that therapy is not a bad thing.
If your teen has attempted suicide in the past, make sure you take measures to keep them safe in the future, such as:
Increase his/her involvement in positive activities such as with clubs, sports, and music
Be aware of your teen’s social environment
Limit your teen’s access to alcohol, prescription pills, knives, and/or guns
Talk with your teen about your concerns; ask him/her directly about suicidal thoughts
Encourage them to continue involvement in the activities that they enjoy such as listening to music, drawing, or playing sports