Warning Signs: When A Teen Thinks of Suicide

I have been posting about children’s and teen’s mental health issues. Nothing is more tragic than when issues surrounding our teenagers lead them to suicide. It is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. I think it is vital that parents, teachers, friends and family members know some warning signs of teen suicide. I will lean on a recent article by Dr. Erlanger Turner who has expertise in behavioral pediatrics, child mental health and minority health.

Lists to help you understand the risk factors and warning signs of teen suicide

Here are some of the risk factors for teen suicide:

  • Mental disorders, in particular
  • Depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
  • Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
  • Conduct disorder (in youth)
  • Psychotic disorders; psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Impulsivity and aggression, especially in the context of the above mental disorders
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Family history of attempted or completed suicide
  • Serious medical condition and/or pain

Warning signs of suicide

We all should also be aware of the warning signs of suicide as well, which are:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself, or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
Depression is a risk factor for teen suicide.
Depression is a risk factor for teen suicide.

Many parents who have had children commit suicide or have attempted to do so had some sense of “something being wrong.” If this sense occurs to you, it is best to be hyper-vigilant, communicate and get help as soon as possible. Intervene in order to prevent a potential tragedy.

It is important to know these signs and to be proactive toward the teenagers in your life. The consequences are far too great to ignore.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *