Suicide and Youth
Celebrity suicides bring the tragedy of suicides to the forefront. When celebrities take their own life, it results in huge media interest around the world and can be triggering for some people who are at risk of suicide themselves, especially teens.
According to the CDC suicide rates have increased more than 25% since 1999. Many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
Risk factors include:
- family history of suicide attempts
- exposure to violence
- aggressive or disruptive behavior
- access to firearms
- feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- acute loss or rejection
Children and adolescents thinking about suicide may make openly suicidal statements or comments such as, “I wish I was dead,” or “I won’t be a problem for you much longer.”
Other warning signs associated with suicide can include:
- changes in eating or sleeping habits
- frequent or pervasive sadness
- withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
- frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- decline in the quality of schoolwork
- preoccupation with death and dying
Young people who are thinking about suicide may also stop planning for or talking about the future. They may begin to give away important possessions.
The following questions can ‘open the door’ for a child or teen to reveal suicidal thoughts and DO NOT ‘put suicidal thoughts in their heads’:
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?
- Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?
Any child or adolescent with suicidal thoughts or plans should be evaluated immediately by a trained and qualified mental health professional.
AA Ross Family Counseling has a board approved CEU course that covers suicide and youth issues.Sign up for the Suicide and Youth Course