ISSUES AND ANSWERS ABOUT TEEN SUICIDE

February 1st, 2016

Teen suicide is a growing national and local health concern. Nearly 100 young people are lost each week to suicide making it the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12. Locally, admissions to the Children’s Crisis Unit have grown 70% since 2012.

Suicidal distress can be caused by psychological, environmental and social factors. Mental illness is the leading risk factor for suicide. Suicide risk-factors vary with age, gender, ethnic group, family dynamics and stressful life events. More than 90 percent of adolescents who die by suicide have risk factors that include depression and other mental disorders and/or substance-abuse disorders.

The risk for suicide frequently occurs in combination with external circumstances that seem to overwhelm at-risk teens who are unable to cope with the challenges of adolescence when exacerbated by mental disorders. Examples of stressors are disciplinary problems, interpersonal losses, family violence, sexual orientation confusion, physical and sexual abuse and being the victim of bullying.

Teen Suicide Warning Signs Can Include:

  • Recent loss
  • Fear of losing control
  • Low self-esteem
  • No hope for the future
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Change in eating habits and sleep patterns
  • Extreme personality or behavior changes
  • Aggressive, destructive, or defiant behavior
  • Neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
  • Increase in alcohol or drug consumption
  • Talking, writing or drawing about their own death
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • Dangerous or reckless behavior

To help prevent teen suicide locally among adolescents in the Collier County Public Schools, David Lawrence Center collaborated with National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the school district on the “We Care Campaign” and created this suicide prevention video below that aired in January 2016 as part of a comprehensive student mental health awareness campaign targeted toward middle school and high school students. The goal of the campaign is to open the dialog about stigma, warning signs of suicide, dating violence, depression, substance abuse, anxiety and bullying as well as provide tips on how to access help and how to help someone who may be struggling.

If you know a teen who might be showing these warning signs, call the Children’s Crisis Unit at 239-455-8500 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.

 

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