Understand the warning signs for teen suicide
Early identification of those at risk opens the door for life-saving intervention.
As of 2016, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people (ages 10-19) in Tennessee, with one person in this age group lost to suicide every week, according to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network. We lose one person between the ages of 10-24 to suicide every four days.
The number of school-age children and adolescents hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts has more than doubled since 2008, according to a new Vanderbilt-led study published in Pediatrics. The study, “Hospitalization for Suicide Ideation or Attempt,” looked at trends in emergency room and inpatient encounters for suicide ideation and attempts in children ages 5-17 years at U.S. children’s hospitals from 2008 to 2015.
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.