In the United States, there is an average of over 3,000 suicide attempts by teenagers each day. Although they can’t cause or predict a suicide attempt, it’s important to understand suicide risk factors. Thoughts about suicide and suicide attempts are commonly linked to:
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental or mood disorders
- Alcohol and substance use disorders
- Hopelessness or helplessness
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- Family history of suicide
- Loss of friendships or relationships
- Stigma associated with asking for help
Sometimes friends let friends or family members know they are thinking about suicide. Other times, a change in behavior or habits can show that someone is struggling.
What are the warning signs of suicide?
- Comments such as: “I’d be better off dead,” “There’s no point in living,” “Soon you will not have to worry about me,” or “I won’t be a problem for you much longer.”
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Giving away important possessions
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and daily activities
- Lack of care and interest in schoolwork
- Extreme mood swings
- Increasing the use of drugs or alcohol
- Suicidal threats or jokes
- Obsession with death including artwork and essays that are about death
Talking About Suicide
As a teen, sometimes your feelings can be underestimated because of your age. This may cause you to feel hesitant to open up and talk about your struggles with an adult, but we want you to know help is
available. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends, family, or teachers what you need when they ask. You can also call the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you have a friend or family member who has confided in you their thoughts about suicide or is showing warning signs, it’s important to provide support and take them seriously. Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Tell them you want to help, but you need to involve other people, like a trusted adult. Neither of you have to face this alone.
- 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/youth/
If you are thinking about suicide or know someone who might be, it’s recommended that you speak with a trusted adult and seek help immediately.
(References: Centers for Disease Control, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)