Weekly Emergency Dept. Visits for Suspected Suicide Attempts Rose 50.6% among 12 to 17 yr. Olds

What Is Causing Youth Mental Illness?

We all have uttered out of desperation at least once in our lifetime, “I’m going to Kill Myself!” It may have been frustration with a relationship, a disappointing grade on a test or feeling “less than.”  But did we have true suicide ideation in which we actually formulated a plan to kill ourselves?  However, with today’s staggering statistics, such a remark would be thought of as serious. Unlike other medical conditions, suicide rates have been steadily increasing.

Celebrities Are Not The Only Ones Taking Their Own Lives

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year-olds in the U.S.  Nearly one-fifth of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide and 9 percent have made an attempt to their lives.

Psychology Today.com points out one of the common risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors is current substance abuse resulting from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia.

It is painful for a parent to see his child withdrawn.  But knowledge is power when it comes to recognizing the behaviors that may signal risk from a painful event, loss or change:

  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much/too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
  • Fatigue

Source:  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Don’t Think Talking Will LEAD to Suicide Attempts

Many parents are reluctant to ask their children if they are suicidal and if they have a plan to do so.  They are not planting seeds of suicide in the childrens’ brains; they may have already thought about suicide as a way out of their pain. You are not encouraging suicide attempts.

A parent should be able to discuss outloud his fears and concerns for his child just as the child may find it a relief to release his burden and rely on his parent for emotional support and understanding.  Communication is key for treating  suicidal ideations.

Don’t Go It Alone!

Find psychiatric treatment which may involve pharmacology as well as a new behavioral therapy.  With a mental health professional, devise a safety plan for the depressed individual.  What is a safety plan?  It identifies triggers and steps to help reduce suicidal thoughts.

Put out of sight any self-harming tools such as knives, guns, ropes as well as substances.

Keep these numbers handy:

  • Crisis Text Line:  Text “Here” to 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Line (for active U.S. service members, veterans, and family members) 1-800-273-8255    SMS:83825
  • The Trevor Project (for LGBT youth, friends, and family members): 1-866-488-7386
Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.

Leave a Comment