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Teen Suicide -The killer from

within

Over the years I am sure that everyone has come in contact with or has some knowledge of teen suicide.  You may ask why I believe teen suicide comes from the killer within.  I say this because the killer is within everything that is life.  It is in the teen, it is in their life, in their heart, and in the situations. Every problem teens face the killer is always there. Tempting and luring an easy way out. It is not that they wake up one fine day and decide to end their lives. The thought is with them every day, in their minds growing in importance.
Some interesting facts on teenage suicide:

  • It is an acknowledged fact that four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings.
  • It is the third leading cause of death, just behind auto accidents and murder.
  • Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females
  • Females are more likely to attempt suicide than males.
    There are 8-25 attempted suicides to one completed suicide
  • Guns are used in 50% of suicides with teenagers
  • One-third of teens who die by suicide have made a previous suicide attempt.
  • Suicides are often committed out of impulse
  • Serotonin levels in the brain are low in suicide attempting teens

Things that bring about suicide

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Disruptive behaviors

What causes adolescents to attempt suicide?

  • Adolescence is a stressful developmental period filled with major changes
  • Body changes
  • Changes in thoughts
  • Changes in feelings
  • Strong feelings of stress
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Pressure to succeed

For some teenagers normal developmental changes with other events cause problems

  • Divorce
  • Moving to a new community
  • Changes in friendships,
  • Difficulties in school, or
  • Other losses

The statistics on teen depression are sobering. Studies indicate that one in five children have some sort of mental, behavioral, or emotional problem, and that one in ten may have a serious emotional problem. Among adolescents, one in eight may suffer from depression. Of all these children and teens struggling with emotional and behavioral problems, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment. The other 70% simply struggle through the pain of mental illness or emotional turmoil, doing their best to make it to adulthood.

Risks of depression

  • Long term or chronic illness
  • If the have been abused
  • If they are abusing
  • Experienced a recent trauma
  • Lost a loved one

Signs of depression

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Worthlessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Cannot make a decision
  • Grades are dropping
  • Thoughts or jokes on dying

Because adolescents do not have the verbal skills of adults, they often cannot express what they are feeling in a way that allows parents to identify depression as the issue. Sometimes there mental problems show up in physical ways as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Low energy
  • Sudden change in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Anxious
  • Belligerent
  • Having trouble getting along with peers, siblings, and authority figures
  • Teachers may report the child is skipping classes or not paying attention in class.
  • Your teen might start paying less attention to his or her appearance and hygiene
  • They may spend much more time alone
  • They may drop out of the usual activities they enjoy

If you are a parent with a teen whose behavior has changed and negative patterns have existed for more than 2 weeks, please contact a local mental health practitioner with expertise in treating children and adolescents to further assess the situation. Depression responds best to therapy and treatment when it is identified early.

Teens do succeed at suicide. It is the third leading cause of death.  Because this is a true fact, as parents and adults we need to be more than aware of the dangers, but we should know the warning signs.

Warning signs include:

  • Romanticizing death
  • Getting hurt a lot doing reckless things
  • Talking and joking about suicide and being dead
  • Letting death be a positive thing, like “I will be loved more when I’m gone”.
  • Everything they do, say and write has death in it
  • Giving away the things they care for
  • Saying final goodbyes
  • Researching or seeking knowledge about ways to kill them selves.

How to Help
It’s hard to identify someone that is going to kill themselves.  They don’t just walk up and tell you.  They give you clues and expect even hope that you will be the detective.  In my research I have found a lot of the suicide attempts are truly real and not simply a cry for help.  They truly feel they have come up against something, some problem with no way out.

You must know the people in your life. You must listen to them and since people who commit suicide feel so alone and helpless, then the most important thing you can do is to be a part of their life.  Take the talks seriously; don’t just assume they really don’t mean what they are saying.

If you have concerns that someone you know may be thinking of suicide, don’t be put off by the misconception that bringing it up with them will make them do it quicker.  This is not true.  Talking about it without judgment or disapproval is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Things you should know are that most teens that say they want to die, really believe it, but in actuality it is escaping pain that they want.  They want to be permanently away from a situation that seems impossible to deal with or to get relief from really bad thoughts and feelings.

Never assume that someone is determined to die and cannot be stopped.  Belief it or not severely depressed teenagers have mixed feelings about death and will waiver in their decision up to the last moment. The impulse to end it all, though, no matter how overpowering, does not last forever.

Another serious consideration to keep in mind is to not automatically assume that someone who is in treatment or tells you they are better, is in fact doing better. Some teens that succeed at suicide do so when they seem to be improving.  This is because: They may have more energy now that they are in therapy or they may seem to improve because resigning yourself to dying releases anxiety and you seem calmer.

While it may seem a bit obvious, it should also be mentioned that it is extremely advisable to make sure if your teen is suicidal to not have any access to easy death ways.  That means, lock up the guns, and lock the medicine cabinets.

  • A classmate of my sons recently died after shooting himself with his dads hunting gun because his parents wouldn’t buy him a car.
  • A newspaper story reported a 15 year old girl hanging herself because she failed a math test.
  • Yet another teenager killed himself because his girlfriend dumped him.
  • Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture. It is a proven fact that by proper listening and encouragement even teens that have the pills in their hand can be motivated to live again.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life. A life is more important than a confidence and the person concerned will thank you for it later.

In my research of this most troublesome subject I came across three webpage’s that I think are worth printing here:

http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/samaritans.htm

http://www.samaritans.org/

Filed under: Teen Issues

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