Teen Suicide Prevention

According to the CDC, Teen Suicide is the third leading cause of death from ages 15-24 years old in America.

Suicide attempts among teens have been on the rise in the United States in the last year and a half. The effects of being quarantined during the pandemic had a huge impact on the mental health of young adults. Along with this, came a rise in suicide among teens. In the past year and a half, many teens have become mentally and physically exhausted causing mental health issues to rise. Often the issue is compounded with additional stressors, such as eating and sleeping. 

Struggling with mental health issues can cause drastic changes in people of all ages. An individual’s personality can change dramatically when coping with depression. Often they will try to hide their feelings, not knowing how to express themselves or open up to others. The fear related to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the isolation of being inside for months exacerbated the problem and many could not handle what they were feeling. Loneliness and stress can put a person’s mind in a place of self-harm, which can be very difficult. Depression can manifest in many ways and will often cause a change in a teen’s personality. These changes can be triggered from a recent loss or parents separating/divorcing, feelings of inadequacy, sexual orientation or be the result of a hormonal imbalance they are unaware of which can cause emotional stress on teens that are already emotionally drained. No matter the reason, once it has reared its ugly head, depression is difficult to come back from.

When an individual is experiencing mental health issues, they can exhibit noticeable signs. Oftentimes, people will lose interest in things they used to enjoy, have trouble falling asleep, sleep too much, stop interacting with friends and family and choose to be alone. Some teens will act out or behave irrationally, develop eating disorders, lack concentration in and out of school or have difficulty making decisions. Depression does not leave room for joy in life. Teens that do not have a solid support system or the awareness that they need to seek out help can begin to feel that their situation will not improve and or they have no options. This can sometimes lead to thoughts of self-harm. Tragically, with the world being quarantined and young people unable to attend school in person, there was no one around to notice the changes happening and many teens were not provided with the help they needed. They felt their situation was hopeless and resorted to self-harm, or even worse, taking their own lives.

According to the CDC, Teen Suicide is the third leading cause of death from ages 15-24 years old in America. Due to Covid 19, and the coinciding lockdown, there was a spike in potential suicides by children ages 12 to 17. The CDC also reported that 1 of every 3 deaths by suicide is not the teen’s first attempt. 

        It is important to be aware of the signs someone might exhibit when contemplating taking their own life. Even though it is not always preventable, it is always a good idea to be informed and take action if someone you love begins exhibiting signs of depression. Many teens who have attempted suicide or succeeded in taking their own lives have given some type of warning to loved ones ahead of time. Some may start making certain comments about wanting to end their life such as, “I’d be better of dead” or “I won’t be bothering you much longer.“ This may not even be done verbally. With the various forms of technology and social media surrounding today’s youth, young people may express their despair online through a post or tweet. It is important to be aware that even if you suspect that the threat is not real or that it is being done for “attention,” it is always a good idea to take it seriously and contact someone who is trained to help. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.