Every 100 minutes a teen commits suicide.
Every 2 hours and 11 minutes a person under the age of 25 dies by suicide
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for college- age youth
- Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for our youth ages 10-14
- Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth are still nearly 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. More than 2 out of 5 think about suicide often, and 1 in 3 have attempted it.
- An estimated 1,100 college students (3 per day) die by suicide
- Suicide is PREVENTABLE.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suicide affects all youth, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 84% of the deaths were males and 16% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys.
Suicide by youths include risk factors such as:
- History of previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- History of depression or other mental illness
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life event or loss
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
Yet, Bullying and Cyberbullying play a large factor in why our youths contemplate, attempt and commit suicide.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO
Most kids and teens who are suicidal will show warning signs and parents must know all of the signs so they can get their kids and teens help!
- Change in eating and sleeping habits
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
- Disinterest in using their computers and cell phones to text friends
- Disinterest in going to school
- Violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away
- Drug and alcohol use
- Unusual neglect of personal appearance
- Marked personality change
- Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
- Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Not tolerating praise or rewards
A kid or teen who is planning to commit suicide may also:
- Complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside
- 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
- Put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc.
- Become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
- Have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts)
The most important thing to understand is that parents must keep the lines of communication open. Not just once or twice – but all the time.
Show your concern, love and support. By having conversations on a regular basis your kids and teens may feel more compelled to confide in you. If they do, take it very seriously!
Even if it’s something you may feel is trivial, to a kid or teen can be consumed with the incident and take it to a whole other level.
If you have difficulties getting your kids and teens to talk with you, offer them other alternatives such as another family member, a close family friend, a guidance counselor, clergy member or their doctor.
A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you in the larger scheme of things, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. It's important not to minimize or discount what your teen is going through, as this can increase his or her sense of hopelessness.
Although you may be hesitant to ask your kids and teens if they’ve ever contemplated suicide, you can bring it up in a conversation buy saying: “You seem very unhappy lately and I heard you say you wish you were dead. Are you thinking of taking you life?”
They may not admit it to you, but if you even suspect that your kid or teen is at risk, GET HELP immediately.
If you have a scheduled appointment with a mental health professional and your child suddenly states he/she is feeling better and doesn’t want to go, keep the appointment anyway. Euphoria can set in right before someone actually commits suicide. If your child is adamant about not keeping the appointment, discuss with the mental health professional.
Contact your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist, or your local hospital's department of psychiatry can provide a list of doctors in your area. Your local mental health association or county medical society can also provide references. In an emergency, you can call (800) SUICIDE or (800) 999-9999 or call your local emergency room or take your kid or teen there -- even if you’re unsure if your child is suicidal. The hospital can determine the danger if any and suggest appropriate treatment. At the very least, if your kid or teen is not suicidal and has depression issues, that can be dealt with as well – but at least you’ll know you’ve done everything you could to keep your kid or teen alive!