VIDEO FROM THE MAYO CLINIC

Youth Suicide Prevention

Youth Suicide Prevention

We Can Work Together to Save Lives of At Risk Youth!

Understand that suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation today. We lose an average of more than 100 young people each week to this tragedy that can be prevented. Remember: Never be reluctant to get involved and always take any child/adolescent’s desire or intent to harm themselves seriously. If you suspect a young person of suicidal ideation, get them to professional help immediately. Suicide is Preventable.

Learn the Warning Signs

Four out of five teens who attempt suicide give clear warning signs. Warning signs of suicidal ideation include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • A deepening depression
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting self-destructive behavior
  • Out of character behavior
  • A loss of interest in the things one cares about
  • Increasing anger, rage, dramatic mood changes
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order
  • Giving prized possessions away
  • Significant and drastic change in behaviors
  • Increased use and abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs
  • Being bullied, assaulted, victimized as well as being the one who is the perpetrator
  • Experiencing many recent losses, breakups, deaths, etc.
  • Experiencing and trying to deal with trauma

You may be the first and last person to see these signs in a young person.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Depression, Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

One of the most telling risk factors for youth is mental illness. Mental or addictive disorders are associated with 90% of suicides. One in ten youth suffer from mental illness serious enough to be impaired, yet fewer than 20 percent receive treatment. In fact, 60% of those who die by suicide suffer from depression. Alcohol and drug use, which clouds judgment, lowers inhibitions, and worsens depression, are associated with 50-67% of suicides.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Aggression and Fighting

Recent research has identified a connection between interpersonal violence and suicide. Suicide is associated with fighting for both males and females, across all ethnic groups, and for youth living in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Community Environment

Youth with high levels of exposure to community violence are at serious risk for self-destructive behavior. This can occur when a youth models his or her own behavior after what is experienced in the community. Additionally, more youth are growing up without making meaningful connections with adults, and therefore are not getting the guidance they need to help them cope with their daily lives.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

School Environment

Youth who are struggling with classes, perceive their teachers as not understanding them or caring about them, or have poor relationships with their peers have increased vulnerability.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Previous Attempts

Youth who have attempted suicide are at risk to do it again. In fact, they are eight times more likely than youth who have never attempted suicide to make another suicide attempt.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Cultural Factors

Changes in gender roles and expectations, issues of conformity and assimilation, and feelings of isolation and victimization can all increase the stress levels and vulnerability of individuals. Additionally, in some cultures (particularly Asian and Pacific cultures), suicide may be seen as a rational response to shame.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Family History/Stresses

A history of mental illness and suicide among immediate family members place youth at greater risk for suicide. Exacerbating these circumstances are changes in family structure such as death, divorce, remarriage, moving to a new city, and financial instability.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Self-mutilation

Self-mutilation or self-harm behaviors include head banging, cutting, burning, biting, erasing, and digging at wounds. These behaviors are becoming increasingly common among youth, especially female youth. While self-injury typically signals the occurrence of broader problems, the reason for this behavior can vary from peer group pressure to severe emotional disturbance. Although help should be sought for any individual who is causing self-harm, an appropriate response is crucial. Because most self-mutilation behaviors are not suicide attempts, it is important to be cautious when reaching out to the youth and not to make assumptions.

Risk Factors for Youth Suicide

Situational Crises

Approximately 40% of youth suicides are associated with an identifiable precipitating event, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a valued relationship, parental divorce, or sexual abuse. Typically, these events coincide with other risk factors.

Youth Suicide Prevention Resources

The Front Porch Coalition and other organizations are dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide. The Front Porch Coalition believes that awareness and education through prevention, intervention, and postvention are the steps to prevention. We want to establish a Triangle of Prevention by providing students, parents, teachers, youth workers, and our entire community the tools and resources to possibly identify and help at-risk youth.

This is accomplished through a series of programs and services that focus on information about the awareness and prevention of youth suicide.

Above information courtesy of the Jason Foundation.