Suicide Warning Signs in Teens

Posted on October 5, 2011

An alarming and increasing number of teenagers attempt and succeed at suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds.  For the overwhelming majority of suicidal teens, depression or another psychological disorder plays a primary role.  In depressed teens who also abuse alcohol or drugs, the risk of suicide is even greater.

 

Because of the very real danger of suicide, teenagers who are depressed should be watched closely for any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

·         Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury

·         Giving away prized possessions.

·         Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for good.

·         Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves.

 

TIPS FOR TALKING WITH DEPRESSED TEENS

 

Offer support

Let depressed teenagers know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally. Hold back from asking a lot of questions (teenagers don’t like to feel patronized or crowded), but make it clear that you’re ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.

 

 

Be gentle but persistent

Don’t give up if the teen shuts you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Be respectful of the teen’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.

 

Listen without lecturing

Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment. The important thing is that the teen is communicating. Avoid offering unsolicited advice or ultimatums as well. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment. 

 

Validate feelings

Don’t try to talk teens out of their depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Simply acknowledge the pain and sadness they are feeling. If you don’t, they will feel like you don’t take their emotions seriously. The important thing is that the teen is communicating. If the teen claims nothing is wrong, but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. Remember that denial is a strong emotion. Teenagers may not believe that what they’re experiencing is the result of depression.

 

 

If you see depression’s warning signs, seek professional help.

Neither you nor your teen is qualified to either diagnosis depression or rule it out, so see a doctor or therapist who can.

 

Rebecca Heger is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor in the Indianapolis area.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==