Preventing Teen Suicide
Suicide among young people is becoming a growing epidemic across the United States. In 2011, the suicide rates rose 38% from the previous year targeting teens beginning at age 15. Suicide begins with a self-destructive thought process and, if caught early, can prevent the number of adolescent suicides from rapidly growing in the years to follow. The fight between the will of living or dying is prevalent in every mind of a teen contemplating suicide, but it is the destructive thought of death that takes control. When a teen has a negative sense of their self, they have to try and find their internal positive will to live and to cultivate the positive aspects of living. Here are a few warning signs for suicide among teens:
- Talk of feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talk of feeling trapped
- Talk about being a burden to everyone around themselves
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Change in eating habits
- Change in behaviors and mood (extreme mood swings)
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Expressing interest in death or afterlife
According to the National Institute for Mental Illness, almost all individual whom take their life via suicide have a form of mental illness or numerous mental health disorders which are unrecognized by the individual or the family. One preventative measure is to have mental health screening incorporated into your adolescent’s primary care visits. In fact, an estimated 24% of pediatric primary care visits involve a mental health issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommend routine screenings by pediatricians to determine if an adolescent is suffering from depression, anxiety or any other condition that may lead to risk of suicide. The good news is that suicide or mental illnesses leading to the act can be prevented if recognized early and treated by a professional. If you or someone you know has a teen that is reflecting one or more of these signs seek help from a professional before the devastation of losing a loved one takes place.
For a list of additional teen suicide warnings by the National Association of Mental Illness click here.