You may be surprised to learn that preventing teen suicide has become a priority for many parents and school administrators. Some people are quick to point out the obvious, that there is an obvious link between depression and suicidal thoughts and attempts. There are many other factors that come into play however, including school violence and bullying. The bottom line is that teens are not alone in their feelings of despair; this is a problem that affects not only them but their friends as well.
There are two types of depression. They are reactive depression and manic depression. Reactive depression refers to the teen feeling depressed after experiencing something tragic, such as the death of someone close to them. They might feel sad or even feel like they are worthless, but are unable to do anything about it. They might try to talk with others about what they are feeling but they often feel isolated.
Manic depression, on the other hand, refers to teens feeling like they have no self-esteem and are full of confidence. It is a very confusing disorder for a teenager to understand because they are always doing things that seem to work but it doesn’t make any sense. When a teen feels this way they usually seek comfort in substances, such as alcohol and drugs. These help to numb the pain of their feelings and provide a temporary feeling of happiness. Unfortunately, this feeling does not last long and eventually their depression and suicidal thoughts lead them to suicide.
Preventing teen suicide requires you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts and urges. Teenagers will typically act strangely if they are depressed. They will spend less time with friends, engage in anti-social behavior, increase withdrawal from family, and exhibit unusual changes in appetite, physical activity, and self-discipline. If you feel that your teen might be suffering from depression, you should talk to them about it.
You can prevent your teen from committing suicide by trying to get them to express their feelings. Teens are natural talkers so don’t expect them to just “hang up the phone.” Instead, try to get them to talk about sad or difficult things. Explain that you understand and encourage them to talk.
Talk to your teen about the recent loss of a friend or any form of sudden change in behavior. Express concern for their feelings and ask what they are going through. Make sure they are not trying to hide any of their problems from you. This will give you a better understanding of how to help them through it. Many depressed teens feel alone and they may find comfort in talking with someone who understands them.
Find out what your teen is eating. Often a teenager will withdraw from eating a healthy food source. Talk to them about possibly removing that food from their diet and replacing it with a healthier choice. This will also provide them with an opportunity to begin to accept their body and feel more confident in it. If they have been showing signs of mood swings and anger, talk to them about possibly changing medications.
All parents should reach out to help their teen if they are having trouble. There is not one child on the planet who is not dealing with depression or some form of emotional distress. Find a resource that offers counseling services. There is no reason for your teen to feel isolated or alone. Talk to others who are struggling and maybe you can pass on some tips for preventing teen suicide to them as well.