Living in a pretty closed-off society, not very many people want to talk about the tragedy of suicide—especially when it involves young people. Taking one’s own life is sometimes considered taboo, highly debated and unfortunately, highly popular in this society. Suicide is dominating the country so badly that it has bumped up to the third leading cause of death in youth aged ten to twenty-four. This information alone should be enough to persuade anyone and everyone to become more educated on teen suicide statistics and potentially learn ways to help prevent it from occurring more frequently.
For starters, teen depression is one of the main conditions that tend to develop prior to an attempted suicide. Many parents try to write off the signs of depression as simple teenage moodiness. It goes beyond a general melancholy attitude and can affect the entirety of the teen’s life—sometimes leading to pregnancy, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, self-mutilation (cutting) and ultimately suicide if it is not controlled. There is a direct correlation between teen depression and suicide.
- Depression may be very common, but it is also greatly treatable.
- Unfortunately, only about one in every five teens who are depressed actually get help for the problem.
- Each year over 150,000 youth receive treatment for self-inflicted wounds.
- Around ninety-five percent of people who commit suicide have a psychological disorder such as depression at the time of their suicide.
- All teen depression suicide and self-mutilation are potentially linked in some way.
- If you are a teen who is experiencing depression, please be open in your communication with others. There are plenty of people who want to help you. Visit the Teen’s Guide to Depression for more information.
Common Suicide Information
There are quite a few basic suicide statistics that prevail among the most popular pieces of information about suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as a lot of other sites has quite a bit of great information to offer, in hopes of helping people become educated about suicide and potentially be able to prevent it in the future. Here are some of the most common teen suicide statistics.
- Almost five thousand lives are lost each year due to suicide.
- Almost half of the suicides that occur are done using firearms with suffocation coming in at a close second and poison falling in at third.
- Around 16 percent of a nationwide survey of high schoolers reported that they considered suicide. About thirteen percent of those created a plan while about eight percent actually followed through within a year.
- Boys have a higher possibility of committing suicide.
- Of the reported suicides in the youth age-range, around eighty percent were male while only twenty percent were female.
- At the same time, however, girls are much more likely to report an attempted or thought of suicide than boys are.
- Native Americans and Alaskans have the highest rate of suicide in the races.
- The survey showed that Hispanics are also more likely to report thoughts of suicide or an attempt than other non-Hispanics.
- It is thought that around twenty-five attempts at suicide are made for every successful suicide.
What are the Risk Factors?
There are many risk factors that can potentially lead a young person to commit suicide. Knowing these different risk factors can help you as a parent or guardian to keep your students out of these potentially dangerous situations.
- The main thing is to be aware. If a student has tried previously to attempt suicide, it is important to keep a close watch and be very attentive to their mood and their needs. Likewise, a history of depression should also be noted.
- The possession of firearms in your home can be a potential risk due to the fact that firearms are the leading suicide method. Any other easy access to lethal methods may be a cause for risk as well.
- Be wary if there is a history of family suicide as well, because sometimes depression can be developed genetically which can also lead to suicide.
- Alcohol and drug abuse is another thing that can lead up to suicide.
- Incarceration may be a risk factor, so it is important to keep this in mind.
- Exposure to suicide or suicidal tendency amongst their friends may increase the chance that your child will attempt or commit suicide.
- A stressful life event such as a move, a new baby, a divorce or a death in the family can cause this to be a possibility.
- If a child is being bullied this is also another potential cause for suicide. It is important for parents, teachers, and friends to stay attentive to these things.
What are the Symptoms?
There are many signs and symptoms that are found amongst teens that can signal a depression or potential suicidal thoughts. Here are some of the signs to look for.
- Increased sadness and hopelessness, more so than an occasional sad state.
- An increased irritability, anger and hostility. Aggression, especially unusual aggression is a sure sign to be aware of.
- Frequent crying or tearing up at odd situations.
- An overall lack of enthusiasm or happiness when doing daily activities or things the student may have once found fun.
- Withdrawal and recluse from family and friends.
- A drastic change in eating or sleeping habits should be noted. Eating less and sleeping more is a good clue as well.
- Having a difficulty in focusing or concentrating on daily tasks or schoolwork.
- Worthless feeling or guilt about something that either does not matter or is obviously not their fault.
- Restlessness and agitation about various small issues.
- Loss of energy or appetite. An increased amount of fatigue.
- If they actually communicate an interest in death or suicide for any reason.
- Drop hints that they may not be around very long.
It is important to realize that every teen goes through mood changes and growth in different ways. They may also cope in different ways that may almost manifest as minor depression symptoms. If you are unsure about whether your teen is exhibiting signs of depression or suicidal thoughts or whether they are just being a normal moody teenager ask these questions. When in doubt, you can never be too safe.
- How unusual are the behaviors for your child?
- How long have they been present?
- How severe do they appear?
What Can You Do to Help?
There is a great possibility as an adult that you will encounter a teen who is contemplating suicide, either in real life or on a social media site. It is absolutely vital to know certain steps to take to help ensure that you can help that person to the best of your abilities. Most depressed teens will try to reach out or get attention before they commit suicide so look for those warning signs.
- First of all, if you suspect a teen in your life is experience depression, try to build up the relationship and get them to open up to you about it.
- The sooner you address the issues you see, the better.
- Make an appointment for your teen to see a psychiatrist or therapist to talk about what is making them depressed.
- Overall, be watchful and listen. Be attentive to your teenager.
- There are also specific safety teams for social media sites to help reach out and get help when you notice a teen reaching out for help on those places. Report these instances to those safety procedures immediately.
- Some tips to keep in mind when talking to a depressed teen are:
- Offer support openly. Try not to ask a lot of questions that will deter them from wanting to confide in you.
- Be persistent and gentle at the same time. You do not want to push them away or cause them to close off, but at the same time you want to get answers.
- Do not lecture them. Be open to mainly listen to them and never become preachy or they will likely stop talking to you altogether. The purpose for this talk is to grow trust and to get them to discuss their feelings.
- Make validations for their feelings. It is normal for them to feel sadness and pain. Acknowledge this and do not try to talk them out of their depression.
- If you sense an immediate danger, do not hesitate to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Do not leave a teen alone if they have expressed an immediate desire to take their life. Get help for them immediately.
As you can see, teen suicide and depression is unfortunately, much too high of an occurrence in our society today. The possibility of a teen experiencing depression at some point to some degree is growing more and more likely each day. However, learning about teen suicide statistics and informing yourself about depression symptoms may help you be able to prevent it if the opportunity arises. Being able to better recognize the symptoms and learning ways of prevention can potentially save a life.
Communication is the biggest factor around. Learning to communicate openly can help you not only keep yourself on track, but also to reach out to your loved ones in their time of need. If you or someone you know is suicidal or having thoughts of hopelessness and confusion, please visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call and talk to someone who cares at 1-800-273-TALK. Do not take your life—it is so much more valuable than you know.