The reasons behind a teen’s suicide or attempted suicide can be complex, and the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases tremendously during adolescence. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surpassed only by accidents and homicide. The suicide rate for girls between the ages of 10 and 14 skyrocketed 75.9% in 2004, That same year, the suicide rate for female’s ages 15-19 jumped 32.3%, and the rate for males ages 15-19 rose 9%.
While these facts are disturbing, there is hope.
By educating others, and ourselves we can make a difference in preventing youth suicide. Every citizen should understand that while youth suicide is a problem, there is something that can be done about it.
If you suspects that a friend or family member is considering suicide, here are three very important things to do if you notice the warning signs for suicide or the young person tells you directly that they are thinking about suicide.
- The first thing is to always show the person that you are concerned about them – listen without judgment, ask about their feelings and avoid trying to come up with a solution to their problem.
- Next ask directly about suicide – be direct without being confrontational; say “are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?”
- Finally, if the answer to your question is “yes” or you think it is yes, go get help – call a crisis line, visit the school counselor, tell a parent or refer the teen to someone with professional skills to provide help. Never keep talk of suicide a secret!
FOR IMMEDIATE HELP CALL
2-1-1 – LOCAL CRISIS SUPPORT AND SUICIDE INTERVENTION
1-800-435-7609 – NATIONAL ADOLESCENT SUICIDE HOTLINE
What every person can do to help prevent suicide
Show You Care!
Often, suicidal thinking comes from a wish to end deep psychological pain. Death seems like the only way out. But it isn’t. Let the person know you really care. Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
“I’m worried about you, about how you feel.”
”You mean a lot to me. I want to help.”
”I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.”
Ask The Question
Don’t hesitate to raise the subject. Talking with young people about suicide won’t put the idea in their heads. Chances are, if you’ve observed any of the warning signs, they’re already thinking about it. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Get the conversation started.
“Are you thinking about suicide?”
”Do you really want to die?”
“Do you want your problems to go away?”
Never keep talk of suicide a secret, even if they ask you to. It’s better to risk a friendship than a life. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with professional skills to provide the help that he or she needs, while you continue to offer support.
“I know where we can get some help.”
”Let’s talk to someone who can help…let’s call the crisis line, now.”
“I can go with you to get some help.”
For more information on suicide go to: http://www.kaytrotter.com/suicide.htm
If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com, 214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.
Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page http://www.facebook.com/DrKaySudekumTrotter.