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Teen Suicide : Statistics and Prevention
Teen Suicide: Statistics and Prevention. This article will review information on teen suicide stats, facts on teen suicide, high risk groups for teen suicide, warning signs to help avoid teenage suicide attempts, and what parents should (and shouldn't) do to help prevent suicide.
Teen Suicide Statistics
Every year nearly 5,000 American teenagers and young adults kill themselves.
That makes suicide the third-leading cause of death among those 15 to 24 years old, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Only accidents and homicides kill more.
It's important that parents understand what may lead teens to suicide, learn the warning signs, and know what they can do to help.
Some Basics Facts About Teen Suicide
High Risk Groups for Teen Suicide
Teens commit suicide for many reasons, but some common circumstances have been identified. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the overwhelming majority of those who kill themselves, including teens, have a have a psychological or substance-related disorder at the time of death.
These disorders make it harder to deal with stressful situations teenagers may face, like failing a test, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one or seeing parents divorce.
Some mental disorders, like depression, can be difficult to recognize in young people, says Dr. Richard O'Conner, a psychotherapist and author of the book Active Treatment of Depression. Symptoms can easily be mistaken for common teenage behavior like anger, sullenness or acting out.
Also among teens at higher risk of suicide are those who exhibit one or more of these characteristics.
Warning Signs of Teen Suicide
According to the National Mental Health Association, four of five teens who kill themselves have given a clear warning of their intentions. Parents and friends should recognize these behaviors commonly associated with suicide.
Above all, any suicide threats or talk of death - even writings or drawings indicating a desire to die - must be taken seriously, no matter how harmless they may seem or whether the teen dismisses them as "a joke."
What Parents Should (and Shouldn't) Do to Help Prevent Teen Suicide
Be alert to your teen's behavior and feelings. If he or she seems depressed or withdrawn, watch your child carefully. Those thinking about suicide often feel helpless or alone. You can help by communicating openly. Demonstrate your willingness to listen.
If your child is hesitant to talk to you about how he or she is feeling, suggest someone else he or she can confide in. It may be another relative, a member of the clergy, a counselor at school, or your physician ? anyone your child is comfortable talking with.
Related Article: Teen Depression >>