Teen Suicide

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Social Studies

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Teen Suicide

Teen Suicide: Facts & Preventative Tips for ParentsBy: Alayna Smith

How big of a problem is teen suicide?It is estimated that about 5,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 commit suicide annually. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and the second leading cause of death for college age adults.

Is a Social Worker required to alert proper authorities if a teen expresses suicidal thoughts? Yes. When a student verbalizes a threat of self-harm, it is necessary to breach confidentiality and inform parents, outside service providers, and the school.

How can a social worker help?Social workers provide direct mental health services to students as well as working collaboratively with families, schools, and community partnerships.

Who is at risk for suicide? Anyone! But particularly those diagnosed with mental illnesses such as Bipolar disorder, gay and lesbian teens, those with substance abuse addictions, and those under emotional distress.

Know someone that needs help? United States:1 (800) 273-8255National Suicide Prevention LifelineHours: 24 hours, 7 days a weekLanguages: English, SpanishWebsite: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

How can I help my child that is contemplating suicide?Since people who are contemplating suicide feel very alone and helpless, the most important thing to do is to communicate with him or her openly and frequently. Let them know that you care and show your willingness to listen. Also, be sure to take all talk of suicide seriously.

What are some of the signs and symptoms for a teen that is considering suicide? Someone that is talking about dying, suffered a recent loss, change in personality, behavior, eating, or sleeping, fear of losing control, low self-esteem, and no hope for the future.

What preventative measures can a parent do if their child is thinking about suicide?Nearly 60% of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. That's why any gun in your home should be locked and kept out of the reach of children. Overdose using medicine is also a very common method for suicide. It's important to monitor carefully all medications in your home. Also be aware that teens will "trade" different prescription medications at school and carry them (or store them) in their locker or backpack.

Does discussing suicidal thoughts or ideas promote suicidal behavior?No. Studies have shown that when a student can talk about his thoughts, he/she is less likely to act upon those feelings. In fact, teens who talk about their suicidal thoughts are crying out for help.

What is the suicide risk for Gay and Lesbian youth?Gay and Lesbian teens may be 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual youths. This population makes up about 30% of all teen suicides.


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