Assessing Suicide Risk in Adolescents
Assessing suicide risk in teens is a very serious task that should only be conducted by professional therapeutic practitioners. Be that as it may, before assessment, we strongly recommend that parents of a depressed, troubled adolescent be aware of their child's symptoms and, most importantly, know the signs of suicidal ideation. Of course, the consequences of a parent "not knowing," can result in utter tragedy. Needless to say, if you are the parent of a depressed teen, you will want to pay strict attention to their mental state and monitor it closely.
Suicide: 3rd Leading Cause of Young Deaths - Ages 15-24 (according to National Center for Health Statistics)
Teenage suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst adolescents - the only causes of teenage death that rank higher than suicide are car accidents and drug overdoses.
While almost all teenagers have a proclivity for acting on their raw emotions, there is a fine line between depression and suicidal tendencies. Moreover, it is critical for parents to seek professional help for their child as soon as their depressive symptoms are noticeable. By treating depression early on, parents can ensure their child's depression will not progress into suicidal ideation (obsessive suicidal thinking that causes teens to take their life).
Teenage Males More Likely To Commit Suicide
While both female and male teens commit suicide, adolescent males are 3.6 times more likely to act on suicidal ideation than females (between the ages of 15-19). With that in mind, if you are a parent of a depressed teenage boy, you must be especially vigilant in finding proactive, therapeutic means to treat their potentially fatal, condition.
Professional Assessment of Adolescent Suicide Risk
According to the Center for Disease Control - While it's true that more adolescent boys complete suicide, adolescent girls are actually much likelier to attempt suicide. According to the statistics of the CDC, most teenage girls who attempt suicide are simply desperate for attention. However, while their goal may be to receive attention from their family and peers, many girls who attempt suicide for attention are accidently successful of actually killing themselves. With this in mind, it is crucial for parents to seek immediate and professional treatment for a teenage girl who attempts suicide, no matter how impractical that attempt may be.
Teenage Suicide is Almost Always Due to Emotional Maturity
Many troubled teens suffer from developmental delays (emotional immaturity) and intellectual disabilities (learning disorders). Currently, there is no standard method to study suicide risk in youth with developmental delays or intellectual disabilities. Youth with developmental delays and intellectual disabilities are often excluded from studies that are used to develop these methods. As a result, most current suicide risk assessments have not been tested for use with people with these issues. Our recommendation is that parents of troubled teens get help immediately when the first signs of risk emerge.
Adolescent suicide research has, by and large, focused on demographic risk factors (Brent, Baugher, & Bridge, 1999; Levy, Jurkovic, & Spirito, 1995). This approach provides descriptive data and correlates demographics with suicide risk. Numerous studies have examined the incidence of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts by age, race, educational level, family background, religion, socio-economic level, sexual orientation, and other demographic variables.