One of the issues that parents of American teenagers most fear is suicide. Teen suicide is one of the biggest killers of teens today, and rates have increased significantly over the past several decades.
Teenage boys are at a greater risk of committing suicide than teenage girls. Paradoxically, suicidal tendencies are twice as prevalent in teenage girls, but girls are much less likely than boys to succeed with their suicide attempts.
Nobody really knows what drives an individual to attempt suicide. However, experts have suggested that certain adolescents are more susceptible to suicidal tendencies than others. Key risk factors include:
Parents need to be able to recognize signs that their teenager might be considering suicide. Urgent warning signs include:
Although adults may be tempted to dismiss suicide threats as attention-seeking behavior, all threats should be taken seriously. Teenagers who threaten suicide need help, whether they genuinely intend to commit suicide or not.
Below are some tips for parents on helping a teen who may be having thoughts of suicide:
If your teenager refuses help, persist nonetheless. Consider involuntary hospitalization if necessary. The most important thing that you can do is to listen.
American Association of Suicidology. (n.d.). Youth suicide fact sheet. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from http://www.suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=232
information on health-related topics, not medical advice, diagnosis or
treatment recommendations. Please consult your physician if you have questions