Depression and feelings of hopelessness can overwhelm. These feelings can distort your mind and you might begin to start thinking about suicide as a way out. Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24.
- About 4600 young people die every year because of suicide.
- According to the CDC, deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die.
- A nationwide survey of high school students enrolled in public and private schools in the United States (U.S.)found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey.
- Suicide affects all youth but there are certain groups that are more at risk than others. Boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls. However, girls are more likely to have had attempted suicide.
- There are also cultural variations; Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have the highest rates of suicide. Hispanic teens are more likely to commit suicide than their non-Hispanic peers.
- Here are some risk factors:
- History of previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- History of depression or other mental illness
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life event or loss
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
- Previous or current incarceration
Suicide and depression are difficult subjects to discuss. The good news is that suicide it preventable. If we are vigilant and understand the psychology of a person struggling with suicidal thoughts we can prevent more deaths. Here are some signs to watch out for, so you can know when to step in–or when to seek help.
Signs that someone may be depressed
- Disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities
- Problems at work and losing interest in a job
- Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs) use
- Behavioral problems
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Sleep changes
- Changes in eating habits
- Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
- Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
- Hard time concentrating and paying attention
- Declining grades in school
- Loss of interest in schoolwork
- Risk taking behaviors
- Complains more frequently of boredom
- Does not respond as before to praise
Signs that someone may be contemplating suicide
- Actually says, “I’m thinking of committing suicide” or “I want to kill myself” or “I wish I could die.”
- There are also verbal hints that could indicate suicidal thoughts or plans. These include such phrases as: “I want you to know something, in case something happens to me” or “I won’t trouble you anymore.”
- Teenager begins giving away favorite belongings, or promising them to friends and family members.
- Throws away important possessions.
- Shows signs of extreme cheerfulness following periods of depression.
- Creates suicide notes.
- Expresses bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide please find help and remember that you are not alone, there are people out there that can and will help you.
- San Antonio Crisis Line: The Center for Health Care Services* 903 W. Martin, San Antonio, TX 78203; 210-223-7233 or 1-800-316-9241
- National Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433
- TEENLINE Confidential helpline that’s operated by teens, for teens. Call by phone, at 310-855-4673 or 800-852-8336, text “TEEN” to 839863, or visit their message board at TeenLineOnline.org.