Many people may be able to place a connection between teen suicide and depression. In this post we want to help provide a better understanding on the relationship between teen suicide and depression, as well as provide information and resources for caring adults or friends who may have concerns about a teenager on their mind.
Teen Suicide and Depression | Statistics
Suicide is the leading cause of death among adolescents and teenagers, and this include boys and girls. While teen girls often think more about committing suicide and attempt it, teen boys are 4 to 5 times likely to die of suicide, most probably because they use more extreme methods such as gun, hanging, and jumping from heights; unlike teen girls who simple overdose or cut their wrist. There are several factors that increases the risk of a teenager committing suicide, but mental health, which includes depression accounts for more than 90% of the people who attempts and commit suicide. So to help reduce the number of teen suicide, it is important to understand how depression leads teens to suicide and how to help them. Read about the myths and facts of depression in teenagers.
Understanding Teen Suicide and Depression
Teen years themselves are often the source of emotional stress. Not having an adult’s experience to deal with life’s pressures, a teen can conclude that no one cares and become painfully depressed over simple matters. Failing to measure up to the expectations of parents, teachers, or friends can cause a teen to become depressed. A sense of loss however is one of the primary causes of depression in teens according to Francine Klagsbrun in her book Too Young to Die-Youth and Suicide: “At the root of many emotionally caused depressions lies a profound sense of loss, of someone or something that has been deeply loved”. So the loss of a parent through death or divorce, the loss of a job, or career, or even the loss of one’s physical health could also be at the root of depression. To a teen though, the most devastating loss is the loss of love, the feeling of being unwanted and uncared for. So you can imagine the pain a teen will feel when faced with family problems such as divorce, alcoholism, wife beating, child abuse, or a simple rejection by a parent who is swallowed up in his or her own problems. A teen may also blame himself or herself for the problems his or her family is having, with such thought he or she could think that with them out of the picture (by killing themselves) the family will be happy.
How Depression Leads a Teen to Suicide
Depression leads people to focus on the failures and disappointments in their lives, and emphasize only the negative side of their situations, instead of the positive or good things they have in their lives or have accomplished, or even the good qualities they possess. Severe depression never lets a person see a good overcome out of a situation. It’s for this reason that depressed persons don’t realize that suicide is a final solution to a possibly temporary problem. A teen with depression may feel there’s no way of escaping his or her emotional pain except suicide. Usually the teen is not aware that he or she has an illness called depression, and it’s influencing their thoughts. But if teen depression is diagnosed early and treatment started, the teen eventually will be cured and become him or herself again, with the ability to be pleasurable, hopeful and with much energy. A teen who is severely depressed is at great risk of suicide. What can you do to help? Teenage suicide is often not spontaneous, they must give some signs before they actually attempt killing themselves, so watch out for the warning signs.
Signs of Teen Depression
Sounds hopeless whenever he or she talks, and feels guilt. Doesn’t show interest in things he or she formerly love. Can’t concentrate or think clearly. Depressed teens often try to hide their depression by embarking upon a pleasure binge: an endless round of parties, sexual promiscuity, vandalism, heavy drinking, taking drugs, driving too fast and the likes.
Teen Suicide and Depression | Help and Prevention
Watch out for any changes in your teen. A teen who used to have good grades suddenly failing in school could show withdrawal. Let your teen know you love them and you’ll always be there for them. That will make them feel comfortable to talk to you. And when they do talk to you, take them seriously. Do not write off anything your child is going through, doing that could increase his or her hopelessness. If your teen often talks about death, ask them why, don’t ignore it. Ask them if they’ve been thinking about killing themselves. If your teen doesn’t talk to you and you suspect something is wrong, suggest they talk to someone else, it could be a friend, their doctor, or a clergyman, someone you know they’ll be comfortable talking to. Suggest your teen sees a counselor or therapist, therapists are known to provide emotional support and they often help teens to improve their coping skills so as to deal with their problems. Also helpful are support networks. If there is a network that identifies with your teen’s particular problem, a network with people of the same issue, sign him or her up. Knowing that he or she is not alone can be helpful. Talk to your doctor, he or she can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you have a gun in your home it should be unloaded, locked and kept away from the reach of your children including the keys to the safe where it’s kept.
Emergency Help for a Depressed Teen
Call 911 or suicide prevention hot-line. Check your local phone book for your location suicide hot-line or mental health centers.
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