More young adult and teen deaths are the result of suicide than AIDS, birth defects, chronic lung disease, cancer, influenza, pneumonia, and strokes combined.
This is a statement that is made even more tragic when one considers that 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide demonstrate warning signs of suicide. If you are the parent of a teen, it is critical that you know the risk factors and warning signs of teen suicide.
Risk Factors for Teen Suicide
There are certain experiences and events that make a teen more likely to attempt suicide. They include:
- A psychiatric diagnosis, such as depression or PTSD.
- Struggling with sexual orientation in an environment that does not accept them.
- A recent, serious trauma or loss, such as the death of a friend, family member, or pet. This may also include a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent’s divorce, or a big move your teen was not looking forward to.
- Bullying; There is also evidence that kids who act as bullies are at an increased risk of suicide.
- Family history of suicide.
- Drug and/ or alcohol abuse.
- Lack of emotional support from both family and friends.
- The suicide of a friend or classmate.
Warning Signs of Suicide
There are a number of signs that your teen may potentially be considering suicide:
- Participating in risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use.
- Changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn, losing interest in favorite activities, decreased interest in school work, and changes in eating and/ or sleep habits.
- Begins to neglect personal appearance.
- Declining grades, problems at work.
- Frequent physical complaints, including headaches, aches, and fatigue. Emotional pain can result in physical symptoms.
- Gives away prized possessions to family and friends.
- In some instances, your child may appear to be verbalizing their suicidal intent by making comments such as, “Just in case something happens to me, I want you to know (blank).”
If your child (or any child you know) is demonstrating any of the warning signs of suicide, it is important that you seek help immediately. Don’t wait until it is too late.
Elevations RTC is a program that specializes in both therapy and excellent academics for teens. We have decades of experience in helping families. To find out more, call us at (855) 290-9681.