Some Things You Should
About Preventing Teen Suicide
- In a recent study on the long-term impact of child abuse, adult
women who said they were physically or emotionally abused as
children were more likely to have mental problems, suffer from
depression and to have attempted suicide.(1)
- Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all persons
regardless of age, sex or race; the third leading cause of death for
young people aged 15 to 24; and the fourth leading cause of death
for persons between the ages of 10 and 14.(2)
It is important to take the subject of suicide seriously. It doesn't
seem right that a teen-ager - who has lived for such a short time -
would choose to die. But adolescents who can't get over their depression
sometimes do kill themselves.
Boys commit suicide more often than girls, but no one is immune. In
one recent survey of high school students, 60 percent said they had
thought about killing themselves. About 9 percent said they had tried at
Why has the youth suicide rate gone so high in recent years?
- It's easier to get the tools for suicide (Boys often use firearms
to kill themselves; girls usually use pills);
- the pressures of modern life are greater;
- competition for good grades and college admission is stiff; and
- there's more violence in the newspapers and on television.
Lack of parental interest may be another problem. Many children grow
up in divorced households; for others, both of their parents work and
their families spend limited time together. According to one study 90
percent of suicidal teen-agers believed their families did not
understand them. (However, this is such a common teen-age complaint that
other factors are playing a role, too.) Young people also reported that
when they tried to tell their parents about their feelings of
unhappiness or failure, their mother and father denied or ignored their
point of view.
If your teen-ager has been depressed, you should look closely for warning
signs that he or she might be thinking of suicide.
If you suspect that your teen-ager might be thinking about suicide,
do not remain silent. Suicide
is preventable, but you must act quickly.
- Ask your teen-ager about it. Don't be afraid to say the word
"suicide." Getting the word out in the open may help your
teen-ager think someone has heard his cries for help.
- Reassure him that you love him. Remind him that no matter how
awful his problems seem, they can be worked out, and you are willing
- Ask her to talk about her feelings. Listen carefully. Do not
dismiss her problems or get angry at her.
- Remove all lethal weapons from your home, including guns, pills,
kitchen utensils and ropes.
- Seek professional help. Ask your teen-ager's pediatrician to guide
you. A variety of outpatient and hospital-based treatment programs
If you need
IMMEDIATE help, please call: 1-800-SUICIDE
(1) Mullen, P.E., et. al., "The Long-term Impact of
the Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse of Children: A Community
Study," Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 7-21,
(2) Friday, J.C., Ph.D., "The Psychological Impact of
Violence in Underserved Communities," Journal of Health Care for
the Poor and Underserved, Vol. 6, No. 4, 1995, pp. 403-409.
- Parent's Resource Center
Copyright © 1997-2003 [PRC]. All rights reserved.
Revised: November 14, 2006