Suicide is the third leading cause of death in individuals ages 15 to 24. Suicide is most often the result of depression or mental illness, but lately we have heard tragic stories of teenagers resorting to suicide after chronic bullying.
Loved ones of suicide victims are left to wonder what they could have done to prevent it. Survivors should not be blamed for suicide, because it is difficult to predict when and if it will occur. Warning signs can be easy to miss or ignore and attribute to normal teen angst. Loved ones, especially parents, can only do their best to learn the warning signs of depression and suicide and connect with a mental health professional.
- Loss of interest in activities he/she used to enjoy like school, work, sports, hobbies
- Withdrawal from friends
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Changes sleep habits
- Changes in behavior
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Having recently experienced a loss (e.g., death of a loved one, broken relationship, divorce)
- Preoccupation with death or dying
- Self-injurious behavior (cutting oneself)
- Talks about committing suicide
- Has attempted suicide before
If you are concerned about a loved one, seek the help of your physician, your pediatrician, your school psychologist, or other qualified mental health provider. You also can visit the American Psychological Association for help finding a psychologist.
If someone you know expresses intent to hurt or kill oneself, call 911 immediately or take him or her to your nearest emergency room.
If you are feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.