September 24, 2007

Teen Suicide

I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of parents but its something that we need to think about considering all the things that children are doing to themselves these days. It is the third leading cause of death for people 15-24 years old. Experts believe that statistics would be higher if other forms of self destruction drug overdoses, self administered poisonings, some fatal one car accidents were taken into account. There is no sure-fire way of detecting suicidal thoughts in your teen but there are behavior patterns (warning signs)that may point toward suicidal thoughts. Learn to recognize them, and more importantly, learn to talk with your teen about them. Neither one of my children have ever done anything of this nature (Thank God), but I did experience a girlfriend of my older son try to commit suicide. She slit her wrists and smeared blood all over my bathroom walls. That was a wake up call to how serious this problem really is.

Warning Signs
• A previous attempt -This warning sign may seem obvious, but eight of ten suicide attempts involve people who have tried to kill themselves before. Did you know boys are more likely to follow thru with suicide than girls?
• Threats or conversations about death-Seven of ten who attempt suicide had told someone that they wished to die, saying things such as, "I'd be better off dead," or "You all would be better off without me."
• Problems in school, especially sudden problems, such as a drop in grades, falling asleep in class, emotional outbursts, or withdrawal.
• Fear of punishment or parental criticism.
• Problems with alcohol or other drugs.
• Changes in physical appearance or habits, disturbed sleeping and eating habits, depression, expressions of low self-esteem.
• Detachment from family and friends.
• Giving away personal possessions.
• Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
• Statements of hopelessness.

It is not true that talking about suicide will give the idea to your child. In fact, not discussing your fears with your child is far riskier because he or she may take that as a sign that you don't care. Here are some tips on how to deal with talking about suicide with your teen.

How to help
• Listen.
• Express love and sympathy
• Validate your child's feelings.
• Acknowledge his or her fear and pain.
• Leave the door open for conversation, even if your child denies thinking about suicide.
• Monitor your child's behavior for warning signs.
• Encourage your child to get involved in a group at school or church: sports, drama, music-anything that helps him or her feel connected to others.

There are more than 200 suicide prevention centers throughout the U.S. Calling the Girls and Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 can put you in touch with someone who can help-24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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grace said...

There's a lot of teen suicides in Japan and it's so sad to know that even parents didn't see any manifestations of their kids taking their own lives.

RitaRose said...

June 2008
My son tried suicide recently. I walked into his room and found him hanging in his closet.
I instantly grabbed him and pulled him up with all my might and unbuckled the belt loop over the bar. As we fell to the floor he gasped for air. We looked into each others eyes and both wept as I held him. I don't remember how long we laid their on the floor while clutching him tightly. I stood him up and lead him to my bed and consoled him, "I LOVE YOU! WHY? I LOVE YOU! and then I prayed. We both fell asleep in my bed. That morning I took him to the hospital. He stayed there for eight days 24/7.
My son had been seeing a psychiatrist and therapist for a year. He turned 16 when he attempted suicide.
Thank God, I caught him in time. He was very thin because I was able to lift and loosen up the belt buckle from the bar.
He had been misdiagnosed with ADHD, I found out he is Bipolar II Depressive.
The best advice I can give parents is keep searching for help. Listen to your kids, and don't take their misbehavior as personal attack. They are confused and need guidance. I cried when I found out my son had Bipolar, but it has helped me to understand his behavior.