Preventing Teen Suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide ranks second as the leading cause of death among college students in the United States, and third among people 15-to-24-year-olds. Every hour and 45 minutes, a teenager commits suicide. And for every suicide, there are between 50 and 100 suicide attempts.

These hard facts show that teen suicide is a real and serious issue in the country. Below are important things you can do to prevent teen suicide.

Recognize warning signs

One of the first and most effective ways in preventing teen suicide is to know the warning signs of suicidal feelings and thoughts. Usually, teens with suicidal tendencies withdraw from their family and friends. They are unable to concentrate and sleeps too little or too much. They also talk about suicide a lot and have sudden changes in personal appearance.

Suicidal teens often lose interest in activities they used to like doing. They express helplessness, hopelessness, or excessive guilt. They also show self-destructive behavior like promiscuity, drug or alcohol abuse, or reckless driving. Suicidal teams seem preoccupied with death and give their favorite possessions.

Address overall health of your teen

Addressing overall health of teens is one of the major strategies for preventing teen suicide. Research shows that providing targeted and effective community-based mental health services for teens at risk for suicide hold promise in teen suicide prevention. Research also shows that early interventions targeting risk factors for substance abuse, aggressive behaviors, and depression can help fight teen suicide.  

Make sure mental health services are available to your teen

Ensuring that teens have access to mental health services is another teen suicide prevention strategy. "You can have all the prevention programs in the world, but if people don’t have access to care, it’s meaningless," says Jerry Reed, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Action Network.

Watch your teen carefully

If your teen looks withdrawn and depressed, psychologists advise that you watch him or her carefully. For example, poor grades or aggressive behavior may signal that your child is withdrawing at school. What you need to do is to keep all lines of communication open. You should express your concern, love, and support.

Support your teen

Support is one of the most important components in preventing teen suicide. Your teen needs to know that you love and support him or her completely. Also let your child know that you’re willing to help him or her cope with problems and find hope again. Always be on his or her side.