Teenagers go through a variety of emotions and hormonal changes as they transform into young adults, and sometimes depression and thoughts of suicide can overwhelm them. It may be that they have experienced some form of trauma and have a hard time coping, are suffering from PTSD, or simply because they’ve just given up altogether. But the warning signs of suicide aren’t always that easy to notice, and with teen death numbers being pretty consistent, as a parent you wonder: Is there anything you can do to stop teen suicide, and lower the risk for your child?
Risk Factors for Teen Suicide
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of teen death, as well as for deaths under age 24. What teenagers suffer through (beginning at age 10 and up) often carries over into their young adult years. That’s why recognizing the warning signs of a suicidal teen is so important—it’s not just to protect them now, it’s to heal them and protect them later on, too. Some of the risk factors of suicide include:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life events
- Family history of suicide
- Being exposed to the suicidal behavioral patterns of others
- Previous bouts of depression or signs of mental illness
Recognizing When Your Teen is Exhibiting the Warning Signs of Suicide
Knowing the risk factors for teen suicide isn’t enough. Sometimes teens hide their depression and you are never made aware of any trauma they may have experienced—as in cases of rape, emotional trauma, and bullying (cyberbullying included). Additionally, even when loss and extremely stressful life events have occurred, a teen may be suffering from PTSD and appear to be totally fine. The signs of teen suicide may be subtle, and they aren't always focused around negative behavior.
For instance, suicide is not often thought of as being paired with generosity. However, when a teen is seriously contemplating suicide they may begin to give away personal belongings to friends and family, or they may throw away important or sentimental possessions. Alone, this behavior might not setting off any alarms, but when paired with other indicators, it starts to create a bigger picture.
Other clues that hint toward the possibility of teen suicide include:
- Engaging in risk-taking behavior
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Complaining of fatigue or pain
- An increase in behavioral problems
- Decline in grades
- Alienation from friends and family
- Extreme mood swings
Your teen may even go so far as to verbalize their intent in a more direct fashion, by presenting “what if “ scenarios to you, like: “I want you to know [fill in the subject], just in case something were to ever happen to me.”
If your teen is exhibiting any of these signs, they may be contemplating suicide. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Elevations can help your teen work through their problems and guide them back to a better place. Call us today at (855) 290-9681.