New study just published in JAMA – Psychiatry, confirms many known facts on this 3rd leading cause of death in teenagers:
– 1/8 of teens has suicidal thoughts
– 1,386 teens ages 13 – 18 took their lives in 2010.
– 1/25 teens has attempted suicide
– 55% who thought about or planned suicide have had some treatment before
As parents, we need to realize that just getting our potentially suicidal teens into treatment, may not be enough. We still must stay in tune with their emotional needs and wellbeing. We must keep a finger on the pulse of their emotions and sometimes during a crisis, go to any length to make sure they are safe from self -harm. Remember that at times our teens may have suffered some trauma they are too embarrassed to share with us and may tell us little bits to see if we can handle the whole truth. Sometimes professional counseling is needed when emotional stress, anxiety or depression have a grip on our teens.
If the aggressively suicidal teen has a plan and expresses that they do not feel that they can be left alone, then please do not leave them alone and if you do not feel you can protect them, then they need an emergency evaluation, perhaps in an emergency room. Do not leave your teen suffering in severe depression or anxiety. These conditions are treatable. Those who are highly impulsive may have a higher risk. Do not be afraid to talk about this issue. Studies all show that talking about suicide with your angry, anxious, depressed or suicidal teen, actually decreases the chance of them committing suicide. Discussion of feelings and suicidal thoughts with parents, teachers, medical professionals or counselors is helpful and allows your suffering teenager to feel that people care and are trying to help.
Many suicidal teenagers will describe what they are feeling as “pain”. An unbearable pain comparable to suffocation, that is so unremitting that suicide can seem like the only way out. We know they would be killing a stranger, as they are in a temporary state and that the anxiety, depression or horrible situation will pass, it will get better.
I provide a couple links below, to a couple YouTube videos that one of my sons posted as part of his recovery from an incapacitating suicidal depression/anxiety that had hi-jacked his brain chemistry and nearly took his life this past year. Consider sharing this with your depressed or anxious suicidal teen or young adult. Sometimes they just need to know they are not alone, and that they can and will get better.