Understand the warning signs for teen suicide
Early identification of those at risk opens the door for life-saving intervention.
In Tennessee, suicide is the second-leading cause of death of people ages 10-19 and the third leading cause of death for persons between 10-24 years, according to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
One in seven teenagers in Tennessee has considered suicide, and one in 11 high school students attempted suicide from 2012 to 2013. Of these attempts, 48 percent required medical attention for serious injuries.
“The loss of lives by suicide is tragic and should be considered a public health crisis,” said Jennifer Barut, MSN, RN-BC, director of Clinical Education and Professional Practice for Vanderbilt Behavioral Health. “With public awareness, and the right interventions and supports in place, deaths by suicide are completely preventable. It is an appalling reality that suicide deaths in Tennessee are higher than national averages, and that state rates continue to trend upward.”
“Even one child lost to suicide is one too many,” Barut said. “These statistics underscore the need for early identification of those at risk so they can get the life-saving help they need. Recognition of early warning signs that indicate someone is suicidal can help.”
· Talking about suicide, expressing thought about ending one’s life
· Withdrawing from friends and family
· Changes in behavior at home or school, especially changes in the quality of schoolwork or lower grades
· Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
· Rebellious or ‘acting-out’ behaviors
· Alcohol or substance abuse
· Previous attempts or experiencing the loss of a friend/family member by suicide increases risk.
Having suicidal thoughts is not a “normal” part of adolescence. If a teenager that you know has any of these warning signs, and especially if he or she has talked about suicide, take it seriously and reach out for help.
Some of these resources in Tennessee include:
· The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
· Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network – www.tspn.org
· The Jason Foundation – www.jasonfoundation.com