According to USA Today, teenage suicide is on the rise. It is the second leading cause of death among young adults between 15 – 19 years of age. But teenage suicide is completely preventable.
Teenagers are a vulnerable bunch of kids who would take impulsive decisions without even thinking of the consequences. Parents need to be totally vigilant of what is going on in their child’s life and talk to them whenever they get time. According to reports, from 2008 to 2015, the number of suicide in children and teens steadily increased from 0.66% to 1.82% in US children’s hospitals. These were all cases of suicidal attempts that rose among the teen generation. These days, more and more teens are contemplating suicide although the reason is still unknown.
Reading so many news reports and articles, parents often tend to think to themselves, “Is my child suicidal?” While there is no definite way to answer this question, there are certain specific suicide warning signs and ways you can determine a child’s behavior and their inclination towards self-harm. The most important thing that a parent must do when their child turns of age is spending long hours with them. According to a 2015 study, the number of male teenager deaths was as many as 1537, as compared to female suicide rates at 524.
What makes Teens so Vulnerable to Suicide?
According to experts, the top reasons for teenage death are a combination of mental health conditions; hence they face trouble coping up with the stress that comes along with being a teenager. They are not able to take rejections or failures, breakups and family troubles in a healthy way. Teens fail to understand that these are petty problems that will pass with time and suicide is not a permanent solution to such problems.
Risk Factors to check & find out if your Child is Suicidal
There are some situations, which if you keep an eye on, will help you identify your teens’ suicidal tendencies. Ask yourself these questions.
- Does your child remain depressed without a specific reason?
- Does your child keep cribbing about life and it turns?
- Has he/she recently lost all connection with the family?
- Is your child feeling disinterested in activities that used to be his favorite once?
- Is your child a victim of bullying?
- Try and know if your child is facing addiction problems like drug or alcohol.
- Has your child ever been a victim of sexual assault?
- Is your child being confused over sexual orientation?
- Keep a track of your child’s behavior and eating habits.
Warning Signs to identify Teenage Suicidal Tendencies
Your child repeatedly mentioning suicide or statements like “I’m going to kill myself” or “you don’t have to tolerate me any further”
- Withdrawal from family or society
- Erratic mood swings
- The attitude of hopelessness or saying statements like “I’m good for nothing”
- Crying without a reason
- Personality changes
- Always anxious and agitated
How to help a Teenager with Suicidal thoughts?
As a parent, your role is crucial to support your child and prevent any depressive thoughts in him/her.
Talk to them – Take the initiative and have a word with them if you notice a behavioral change in your kid. Don’t wait for them to come to you. If you notice some anxiety in your kid, ask them what’s wrong and try to offer help. Understand the gravity of the situation and help accordingly.
Pay attention – As already said earlier, as a parent of a teenager, the prime objective would be to keep an eye out. Always pay attention to your kids’ behavior, like the sleeping and eating patterns. These might act as your warning sign. Don’t take those suicide threats of kids as a melodrama, or something that would pass off.
Discourage staying alone – It is often a norm among teenagers to spend time by themselves. While it is completely normal that teenagers prefer privacy as they grow up, but staying alone always is not right. Encourage your teenager to spend time with you or with their friends. Also, it should be your responsibility to spend time with your kid and doing activities that interest them.
Keep stuff that might cause physical harm away – If your teen is suicidal, keep medications, alcohol, blades or anything that may cause harm off-limits.
Support during treatment – If your teen is going through an anti-depressant treatment or treatment for suicidal behavior, always take time and patience to deal with them. Don’t revoke them for anything. Try and be their friend, always remember, a person is the most vulnerable during their teen years. And as a parent, it is our responsibility to protect our kid’s life.
Teen suicide is preventable with care, love, and support. They are your kids, after all, nobody can handle them better than you.