SUICIDE PREVENTION

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SUICIDE PREVENTION + TEENS

RISKS + EFFECTS
TEENS

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens.

Only accidents take more lives. One in five teens seriously considers taking their life. This fact is why knowing the situations that can put a teen at risk can save young lives.

HERE ARE THE RISK FACTORS THAT INCREASE THE CHANCE OF A YOUNG PERSON COMMITTING SUICIDE:

  • Feelings of distress, irritability or agitation
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often accompany depression
  • A family history of depression or suicide
  • Experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • Dealing with bisexuality or homosexuality in an unsupportive family or community or school environment
  • Stressful life events, such as problems at school, a breakup, the death of a loved one, a divorce or a major family conflict
  • Psychological disorders, especially depression, bipolar disorder and alcohol and drug use
  • Lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation
  • A previous suicide attempt

WARNING SIGNS TEENS

Watch for warning signs.

Life as a teen is filled with stress. There are days when young adults feel like the only constant in their lives is change. Family, school, social lives, dating lives, developing physically, developing emotionally — all of this can pile up and pile on a young person. Very often this feeling of being overwhelmed, isolated and hopeless can be expressed. Too often it is hidden or mistaken for typical teenage behavior. Even younger children may feel suicidal and make suicide attempts. Never ignore warning signs because you think someone is too young to commit suicide.

HERE ARE THE WARNING SIGNS THAT A TEEN YOU LOVE MAY BE LOOKING AT SUICIDE AS A SOLUTION:

Talk of hopelessness or guilt

Pulling away from friends or family

Writing songs, poems or letters about death, separation and loss

Giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends

Loss of the desire to take part in favorite things or activities

Having trouble concentrating or thinking clearly

Changes in eating or sleeping habits

Engaging in risk-taking behaviors

Loss of interest in school or sports

Aggressive behavior

Dramatic mood swings

Hinting that they might not be around anymore

Talking about suicide or death in general

SUICIDE PREVENTION + ADULTS

RISKS + EFFECTS ADULTS

Some situations and conditions increase the chance of a person committing suicide or having suicidal thoughts. When you are aware of the situations that cause someone you love to consider suicide, you can step up and help.

HERE ARE THE RISK FACTORS THAT INCREASE THE CHANCE OF SUICIDE:

  • Depression, other mental disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • A family history of a mental disorder
  • A family history of substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having handguns or other firearms in the home
  • Problem gambling
  • Incarceration
  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers or media figures
  • Divorce
  • Unemployment
  • Financial troubles
  • Prior suicide attempts

WARNING SIGNS ADULTS

Watch for warning signs.

The stress and pain that often leads to attempting suicide are easy to hide and mask. Too often, people feel isolated even as friends and family surround them. Too often, people seek the isolation that leads to greater depression and suicidal thoughts. Too often, we miss these signs, these quiet, subtle signals that someone close to us may be thinking of ending their life.

TO BE AWARE, KNOW THESE SIGNS:

Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness

Daring or risk-taking behavior

Personality changes

Depression

Giving away prized possessions

Lack of interest in future plans

Increased alcohol and drug use

Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community

Aggressive behavior

Dramatic mood swings

Talking, writing or thinking about death

Mood shifts from despair to calm

Planning to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide

Verbal suicide threats such as “You’d be better off without me” or “Maybe I won’t be around”

Previous suicide attempts

Depression can lead to thoughts of suicide. You can help.

DO

Be yourself
Listen
Be sympathetic
Take them seriously
Offer to help

DON’T

Try to talk them out of it
Act shocked
Minimize their feelings
Promise confidentiality
Leave them alone

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