Suicide is the second leading cause of death for tweens and teens between the ages of 10 and 24 in the United States. An average of 17.4 percent of teens decide to take their own life, leaving their parents, family and friends behind, confused and uncertain as to how this all happened. While the number of suicides may be staggering, the attempts are even greater, and female teens attempt suicide more than their male counterparts.
For a parent, one of the most difficult things you can experience is the loss of a child. Thankfully, there are risk factors you that can help you recognize any suicidal ideations early.
Let’s take a look at what they are.
A Recent or Serious Loss
This involves any type of loss that can cause your teen to feel as if her life will never be the same. I could be the death of a family member or friend. It could even be the death of a pet. In addition, the loss might be a parental separation or divorce. She might have just broken up with her boyfriend or lost a close friend.
Loss of stability can also be a risk factor. If you or your spouse just lost your job, or the family is losing their home, pay attention to how your daughter is reacting. Even this type of loss can be a risk factor for suicide.
When thinking about her history, consider her past actions as well as the actions of family members and others who are close to her. If she has had several family members that have committed suicide, this can be a significant concern. A history of violence or neglect is a risk as well.
If she has attempted suicide before, she is at an increased risk for attempting suicide in the future.
Lack of Support
Teens not receiving necessary support from parents or even social support from friends or peers are at a higher risk for suicide. This is especially true with teens that feel:
- Isolated from those around them
- Bullied by others
- Unsure about their sexual orientation and whether they will be supported if they decide to confide in family
Problems surrounding the issue of sexual orientation has grown in recent years. According to the CDC, 23 percent of LGBTQ students have experienced sexual dating violence. 28 percent have been cyber-bullied and 10 percent were injured or threatened with a weapon— on school property.
LGBTQ troubled teens are much more likely to be at risk for depression and suicide. In fact, the CDC study stated that nearly 1/3 had attempted suicide at least once. Whether you understand them or not, you can help this situation by creating an open and supportive environment in your home where your daughter can feel safe, regardless of her sexual orientation.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Many teens use substances such as drugs or alcohol to self-treat depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. While the alcohol and/or drugs may seem to help at first, they always make the problem worse over time. This can lead to a lack of hope and a higher risk of suicide.
Psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar depression can be a risk factor for suicide. In addition, post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by past trauma, can also be a risk for suicide.
Warning Signs for Suicide
If your daughter is considering suicide, she may exhibit some warning signs. Take these signs seriously and get help for your daughter immediately.
- Making suicidal statements
- Giving away belongings
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Withdrawing from you, her friends and her family
- Risk-taking behavior
- Changes to her personality
- Neglectful of her personal appearance
- Threatening suicide
The time between the decision and action is often short. As a parent, getting help immediately should be your first priority.
Also, it’s important to know that teens at risk for suicide can be rehabilitated and go on to lead happy and successful lives.
Get Help Now
If you believe your teen is at risk for suicide, call the national suicide hotline immediately at 1-800-273-8255.
After the immediate crisis is over, consider Greenbrier Academy for Girls. Our boarding school offers a safe, supportive place for teen girls to learn, grow and flourish.
Learn more about our therapeutic boarding school for girls.