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What are the Different Strategies for Teen Suicide Prevention?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Teen suicide prevention starts not with the teen, but with the adults surrounding the teen. This includes parents, teachers, role models, or anyone else with a close relationship with the teen. Recognizing the warning signs of suicide can drastically improve the likelihood of teen suicide prevention, and knowing what to do when those warning signs occur is important for everyone in the teen's life. Parents should also be aware of the situations and habits that can increase the likelihood of teen suicide to help eliminate such stressful situations and relationships. Teachers should be ready and willing to take advantage of the school's support staff if the teacher suspects a teen might be suicidal.

To best understand the steps necessary for teen suicide prevention, adults should learn more about what causes a teen to consider suicide. In many cases, the desire to commit suicide stems from problems at home, personal identity issues, or undiagnosed mental conditions. Divorce, abuse at home, loss of a loved one, or other stressful situations at home can lead a teen to begin contemplating suicide, and teen suicide prevention starts with identifying students who are at high risk because of these issues. In some cases, a teen may not exhibit any warning signs of suicide, so knowing what the teens are experiencing at home or in their personal lives can become a crucial step in teen suicide prevention.

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Teens who are considering suicide will very often exhibit some warning signs. Violent mood swings, withdrawal, a lack of interest in hobbies, a drop in performance at school or at a job, or even talking openly about suicide can all be considered warning signs that a teen may be considering suicide. As parents and teachers, adults are responsible for taking such warning signs seriously and not writing them off as melodrama. In many cases, teens will exhibit these signs as a 'cry for help', or to indicate to an adult that something is wrong. Self-mutilation is another overt sign that a teen may be considering suicide; while this is certainly an alarming warning sign, it is also a health hazard in itself and should be dealt with immediately by a mental health professional.

Many adults do not feel comfortable talking directly to a teen who might be considering suicide. If this is the case, that adult should actively seek out someone who is comfortable with the student and who can develop a strong relationship with that student. Ignoring the warning signs is a crucial mistake many adults make, and it is easily avoidable; if the warning signs are there, seek out someone who is ready and willing to help.

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pleonasm
Post 3

@MrsPramm - If you're worried about approaching your teen about something like this, you might want to talk to them about your own experience with suicide. If you know someone who committed suicide, you can explain how it makes you feel.

My mother made it very clear to me that no matter whether we were fighting or she (or anyone else for that matter) seemed frustrated with me, suicide is always painful and destructive to everyone involved.

I had chronic depression for a long time as a teenager and the main thing that stopped me from ever considering suicide as an option was the absolute knowledge that I would be harming a lot of people. No matter how much I thought everyone hated me, I was never under the illusion that they would prefer me to be gone.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@browncoat - It's important to make sure parents know that they should be honest with their kids about this stuff though. Don't avoid the topic because you're worried about making them feel worse, because they will sense that. I know it can feel like there's no right answer, but you can be supportive without being overwhelming.

browncoat
Post 1

This is such a tough issue, because what will work for one person might just drive another person away. I know my mental health wasn't the best when I was a teenager, but I'm not sure there was anything my parents could have done about it. I would have felt terribly guilty if they knew how I was feeling, and it would have only made me more depressed.

This is one of the reasons I think that teenager suicide preventative programs are so important. Sometimes an outsider is the only one who will be able to help someone see hope.

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