It may not be possible to eliminate the risk of suicide, but it is possible to reduce the risk. Suicide should not be viewed solely as a medical or mental health problem, since protective factors such as social support and connectedness appear to play significant roles in the prevention of Suicide. Teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the second-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, surpassed only by accidents, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
National suicide prevention efforts have focused on school education programs, crisis center hotlines, media guidelines (suicide prevention strategies that involve educating media professionals about the prevalence of copycat suicides among adolescents, in an effort to minimize the impact of news stories reporting suicide) and efforts to limit firearm access.
Referrals can be made for treatment, and treatment can be effective when signs are observed in time. Intervention efforts for at-risk youth can put them in contact with mental health services that can save their lives. Suicide is a relatively rare event and it is difficult to accurately predict which persons with these risk factors will ultimately commit suicide. However, there are some possible warning signs such as:
- Talking About Dying: any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself or other types of self harm.
- Recent Loss: through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies or activities previously enjoyed.
- Change in Personality: sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic.
- Change in Behavior: can’t concentrate on school, work or routine tasks.
- Change in Sleep Patterns: insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, or nightmares.
- Change in Eating Habits: loss of appetite and weight, or overeating.
- Fear of losing control: acting erratically, harming self or others.
- Low self-esteem: feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me.”
- No hope for the future: believing things will never get better, or that nothing will ever change.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or visit their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s mission is to provide immediate assistance to individuals in suicidal crisis by connecting them to the nearest available suicide prevention and mental health service provider through a toll-free telephone number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is the only national suicide prevention and intervention telephone resource funded by the Federal Government.