19 May Teens and suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds, and the third leading cause of death in 10 to 14 year olds. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
- There are 25 attempted suicides to one completed suicide – with the ratio even higher in youth (more completed suicides).
- The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors.
- Among teens, a history of poor decision-making has been found in adolescents who have previously attempted suicide. (Please read our post on Decision-Making to learn more about this important teen process.)
People commit suicide for a variety of reasons. The two prevailing (most common) reasons are: 1) they don’t feel good about themselves, and 2) they feel a sense of hopelessness: that life will never change.
The first reason has to do with the self – who you are. People commit suicide because they don’t feel good about themselves. Since the teen years are all about discovering who you are – discovering your self – it is a risky time if those feelings about your self turn negative.
The second reason also involves the self! It is a feeling- and feelings stem from the self. When your self feels like it has options, you have hope. When the self feels trapped and destined (meant, bound for) to feel a certain way, hopelessness occurs.
This is why discovering your self and managing your self and expressing your self is so darn important!!
The teen years are tough!! You are going through tremendous hormonal changes. Hormones regulate moods and many bodily processes. And sometimes, those hormonal swings can make you feel out of control, moody, frustrated… feelings that tend to decrease how good you feel about your self and increase your feelings of being out of control.
Your body is changing, social lives are shifting, you hear “Get good grades!” “Clean your room!” “Be nice!” and (BOOM!) stress enters your world. Negative thoughts can surface and begin to control your every move. With your brain going through huge changes right now, sometimes you don’t know which direction to take. Then there’s divorce, death of a loved one, a break up, a put down, a text, a move, a tragic event, media influences that tell you to be smart, pretty and skinny, and all of a sudden some teens can feel pushed beyond a limit they THINK they have.
With all this stuff going on, suicide can, for some, become a consideration because they see suicide as a way out, a solution to all their difficult problems and feelings.
However, suicide is never a positive solution for teens. It is ALWAYS devastating to those around them (no matter what the teen may think) and it is ALWAYS a huge loss of potential. Everyone has their gifts – some just haven’t unwrapped theirs yet. Suicide leaves a gift forever lost.
Post Question: What did you think when you read the last paragraph? Did you agree or disagree?