Youth suicides are on the increase in the US. It is the third leading cause of death for teenagers aged 15-19 (after motor vehicle accidence and unintentional injury). Two-thirds of all suicides under 25 were committed with firearms. Suicide is increasing, particularly for those under 14.
The most common signs of a suicidal person
1. Difficulties with relationships between friends, family, and others
2. Feelings of isolation, or feeling unloved by others
3. Feeling like you cant solve the problems you face
4. Impulsive and/or aggressive behavior when faced with a problem
5. Alcohol and/or drug abuse
6. Severe depression and persistent pessimism
7. Suicidal thoughts
How to Help Someone
1. Resist trying to help. People who feel suicidal dont want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves.
2. They want someone to trust. Someone who will respect them and wont try to take charge. Someone who will treat everything in complete confidence.
3. They want someone to care. Someone who will make themselves available, put the person at ease and speak calmly. Someone who will reassure, accept and believe. Someone who will say, " care."
If the person is actively suicidal
Get help immediately. Do not leave your teen alone.
Ask your - "Are you thinking of suicide?" Asking someone if they are suicidal will not make them suicidal. Most likely they will be relieved that you have asked. Experts believe that most people are ambivalent about their wish to die.
Listen actively to what your teen is saying. Remain calm and do not judge what you are being told. Do not advise them not to feel the way they are.
Reassure your teen that there is help for their problems and that they are not "bad" or "stupid" because they are thinking about suicide.
Help your teen break down their problem(s) into more manageable pieces.
Offer to investigate counseling services.
Do not agree to keep their suicidal thoughts or plans a secret. Helping someone who is suicidal can be very stressful.
Suggest that they see a doctor for a complete physical. Although there are many things that family and friends can do to help, there may be underlying medical problems that require professional intervention. Your doctor can also refer patients to a psychiatrist, if necessary.
Encourage them to see a trained counselor. Do not be surprised if they refuse but be persistent. There are many types of caregivers for the suicidal. If the person will not go to a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, suggest, for example, they talk to a clergy, guidance counselor or teacher.
If you are concerned that someone you know may be thinking of suicide, you can help. Remember, as a helper, do not promise to do anything you do not want to do or that you cannot do.