Teenage Suicide

Teenage suicide statistics indicate that teen suicide has become a huge problem. Teenage suicide threats or attempts should never be ignored. This article has information on warning signs of suicide and how to help prevent teenage suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teenage suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24, exceeded only by accidents (generally involving automobile travel) and homicide. For those aged 10 to 14, it is the fourth leading cause of death. For the wider group of children aged 5 to 14, it is the sixth leading cause of death. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has reported that more than 19% of high schoolers have seriously considered suicide and 14.5% have gone so far as to make plans to do so. 

The first thing many people want to know about teenage suicide is how it can be prevented. Often given advice is to know signs that could be warning signs for suicide. These include:

  • expressing feelings of isolation 
  • talking about death or suicide, even if jokingly
  • previous suicide attempts
  • giving away dearly-loved possessions
  • connecting with people who glamorize or espouse suicide as reasonable choice
  • having difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite

Another positive step that is pretty easy to take is making sure that teens get enough sleep as a preventative: A study published in early 2010 found that teenagers who went to bed earlier were markedly less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, while teenagers who got five hours or less a night on a regular basis were 71 percent more likely to report depression and 48 percent more likely to have thought about suicide than those characteristically sleeping eight hours a night.

Events that may lead a teen who is already feeling out-of-sync with life to consider suicide include chronic illness, parental divorce, the formation of a step family, moving to a new city or town, abuse either in the present or the past, bullying, grief at the death of someone close, and/or the suicide of someone else. Situations that lead a teen to feel overwhelmed, powerless, or like there is no escape have been known to lead to consideration of suicide.

Teenage suicide is such a devastating occurrence that it tends to stand out from all other issues. But teenage suicide is often closely connected with other issues, and knowing about these can also help in preventing teen suicide. Teen suicide is related to the following issues: substance abuse, addiction, and depression (and substance abuse and depression may also be inter-related), and treating these two issues helps to prevent teenage suicide attempts, a study has shown, and it doesn't matter whether the underlying depression is treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. 

So closely related are suicide and depression, that an Irish study has shown that thinking frequently about suicide or death was the most common of all symptoms of depression in people of any age. The second most common is low self-esteem, and the third is sleeping difficulties.

Teen depression has been found to be under-diagnosed. A study done in 2006 screened adolescents who came to an emergency room, no matter what reason they had for visiting the ER. Slightly over 45% were found to be depressed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II). 

Related Article: Teen Substance Abuse >>