Sponsored by Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare System
One of the most important topics in mental health and wellness is recognizing and preventing teen suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, and there is one death by suicide every 12 minutes.
According to Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare, our teens are exhausted, especially after the last year, but even under normal conditions. Talking with them about mental health is a great first step in establishing the connection needed to overcome suicidal ideations.
Society often believes that someone struggling mentally will look like they’re struggling physically. But with many suicidal people, especially in youths and teens, someone who is struggling mentally might wear a mask in the world, either through good grades, or as a successful athlete.
4 out of 5 completed suicides give warning signs of their intentions before the suicide is carried out.
Some of these warning signs include:
• Suicidal threats (both direct or indirect) can manifest in the form of statements such as “I’d be better of dead” or “I want to kill myself”
• Nonverbal statements, which can take the form of allusions on social media that the teen is thinking about suicide
• A history of self harm and previous suicide attempts
• Increasing risk taking behaviors such as drug and alcohol use
• Withdrawing from friends, family, and loved ones
• Giving away personal belongings
• Having visual and auditory delusions and hallucinations
• Significant change in mood
English advises that if you notice any of these signs in your teen, ask questions and let them know that you care. As adults, the best thing that you can do is express your concern. Adults often worry that if they address suicidal concerns in their teen, that they’re “planting the idea” in their teen’s head, but that’s not the case. If you ask questions, it shows that you care, which is what people in that mental state need.
Parents need to listen. That means that parents shouldn’t make their teen’s problems about themselves, or diminish their teen’s problems. Maintain connections with your teen.
Additionally, English encourages parents not to isolate their teens. Make sure they stay connected with friends and activities.
Be compassionate and express your love and care. Make sure that they get help whenever they need it, whether that’s reaching out to a mental care physician or Pinnacle Pointe.
Trust your judgement. Trust your intuition, and take further steps for safety, such as removing weapons from the home.
And as always, consult a mental health professional and make sure that your teen receives help right away.