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Teenagers

4 Things You Need To Know About Teen Suicidal Ideation

Adolescence is a pretty stressful time in anyone’s life, and we’ve all gone through it. Let me tell you, it isn’t fun, especially if you are questioning your gender identity and sexuality. According to research, teenagers are prone to more diseases and accidents because they tend to be reckless.

If you have a kid, chances are they are suffering in silence because none of us wanted to talk to our parents when we were teenagers. It is the name of the game, but you should be there for them and listen to them without any judgment. So, without further ado, let’s get into the blog and learn some of the things everyone ought to know about suicide ideation.

1. Statistics

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For adolescents and young adults, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death immediately after motor vehicle accidents. The average annual suicide rate for adolescents aged 15-19 is about 1 per 10,000. Among youth aged 12-16, 10% of boys and 20% of girls have considered suicide. Gay and lesbian teens are more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. Inuit and First Nations teens have a 5 to 7 times higher suicide rate.

Adolescence is a time of great anxiety and change as girls and boys face the challenges of transitioning to adulthood. This time of life can often lead to confusion that isolates the teen from family and peers. Lack of self-confidence, confusion of ideas, and pressure to conform and succeed can have serious consequences for troubled teens. Unfortunately, some teens may consider suicide a permanent solution to problems that are often only temporary.

In general, girls attempt suicide more often than boys, but boys die 4 times more often than girls. This is because boys most often use methods such as firearms or hanging, which are more effective in causing death than those used by girls, who resort to drug overdose and self-harm with a sharp object.

2. Causes

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There are many difficult and upsetting situations that can cause adolescents to consider suicide. The emotions that can lead to a suicide attempt are the same for adults and adolescents. Those with good support networks (family, peers, sports, social, religious, or after-school groups) are likely to share their feelings with someone who can help them.

Those without such networks are more vulnerable to emotional changes and may feel alone in difficult times. In addition to the normal pressures on teens, special circumstances may cause them to consider suicide. This is particularly difficult when they are faced with situations over which they have no control, such as:

    • Divorce
    • A blended family (stepfather or stepmother and stepsiblings)
    • A move to another neighborhood
    • Physical or sexual abuse
    • Emotional neglect
    • Exposure to domestic violence
    • Alcoholism in the home
    • Substance abuse

Many suicides are committed by people who are depressed. Depression is a mental disorder that causes a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can lead to despair, lethargy, or general apathy towards life. Nearly half of 14 to 15-year-olds report having experienced one or more of the symptoms of depression, making it difficult for them to cope with the intense stress of adolescence. Symptoms of youth depression are often ignored or confused with normal “teenage crises.

The ease with which they can acquire a firearm, drugs, alcohol, or a motor vehicle is also a serious problem for many adolescents, which can lead to suicide or help them in their plans to end their lives. For suicides in the general population, a firearm is used in nearly 30% of cases. Of all firearm deaths, approximately 80% are suicides.

3. Warning signs and risk factors

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Suicidal tendencies don’t just appear on a clear day: people usually show several warning signs when things seem to be going so badly that they feel it’s best to give up. Because adolescence is a time of great instability, it can be difficult to distinguish between the signs of suicide and adolescents’ sometimes erratic and often changing behavior. Attention should be paid to the following changes in behavior:

    • A decrease in interaction with family and friends
    • Decreased interest in activities previously enjoyed
    • Difficulty concentrating on studies
    • Lack of attention to personal appearance
    • Obvious changes in personality
    • Sadness and hopelessness
    • Changes in eating habits, such as sudden weight loss or gain
    • Changes in sleep patterns
    • Lack of energy or generally lethargic behavior
    • Symptoms of clinical depression
    • Violent actions, rebellion, or running away
    • Use of illicit drugs or alcohol
    • Symptoms often related to emotions (headaches, fatigue, stomach aches)
    • Loss of ability to appreciate praise or rewards

Although many suicidal teens may appear depressed or down, others hide their problems under a blanket of energy. Hyperactivity and abnormal agitation in teens can also signal an underlying problem. This restlessness may result in aggressive or divisive behavior. Low self-esteem and derogatory remarks about themselves are even more obvious signs of suicidality. 

Some teens talk openly about their suicidal thoughts or express them in writing. These actions should be taken seriously. They should not be ignored in the hope that it is just a passing phase. All previous suicide attempts are cries for help that need to be addressed before it is too late.

4. Available treatments

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Since the vast majority of teens who commit suicide display a variety of depressive symptoms, it is essential to be able to recognize and clinically assess depression, as it is a treatable condition. It is very important that potentially suicidal teens have access to help that is professional. School counselors, as well as counselors at distress centers, can help ensure that distressed teens get the help they need. 

Psychological help allows adolescents to develop effective coping mechanisms. This will give them a way of functioning that will be useful beyond adolescence when they face the many pressures of adulthood on a daily basis. Physicians, including psychiatrists, offer both individual counseling and medical treatment to address the biochemical causes of depression.

Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about suicide ideation.

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