This is the final article on the series about the warning signs of teen suicide.
Acknowledging the warning signs and offering support to a teenager who is working through his or her issue(s) can help prevent suicide. Always remind yourself that you are not them and everyone handles situations differently. Let’s not ignore them and turn a blind eye into an open eye. Reach out to them by telling someone silently they are saying thank you. Teen suicide is a real danger and heeding the warning signs can truly save a life.
Suicide also comes with a stigma and misconceptions that are passed off as facts or the truth about how and why suicide is done. To better prevent suicide from happening everyone needs to know the truth about this act and why it is done.
Common Misconceptions about Suicide:
- “People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”
Not true. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead” and “I can’t see any way out” are signs of a troubled teen. No matter how casually or jokingly said, these phrases may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
- “Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or feel extreme despair. These feelings of distress and emotional pain are always signs of a potential mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.
- “If a person is determined to kill himself/herself, nothing is going to stop them.”
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
- “People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”
Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half sought medical help within six months before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within one month of their death.
- “Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”
You cannot give a suicidal person ideas of committing suicide by talking about it. The opposite is true–bringing up the subject and discussing it openly, is one of the most helpful things you can do!
- There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. (CDC)
- Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
- Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
- Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
- 80-90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TAPS study)
- An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors. (AAS).
- Suicide among males is four times higher than females and male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. (CDC)
- Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (51%). (CDC)
- Females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts. (CDC)
- Females experience depression at roughly two times the rate of men. (SMH)
- Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females. (CDC)
A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional. If you are suicidal or you think someone you know is, we want you to know that help is available and recovery is possible! Start by learning the warning signs above, and do whatever you can to get yourself or someone you know the help they need.
In an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline