Why Do Teenagers Commit Suicide?
Suicide is one of the major causes of teen deaths across the world. Luckily, it is preventable. If we know the risk factors, warning signs, and how to help, we can prevent teen suicide.
What Are The Risk Factors?
We interviewed several experts on why teenagers commit suicide. One of the factors that came out strongly is rejection. Teens years come with lots of rejection. For example, it is at this age when teems start dating. Some teens with be rejected by their potential dates. Similarly, others will be rejected by their friends. Because they are still growing, teenagers do not know how to handle this rejection. If they do not have good support systems, they will end up sad and frustrated. Moreover, if no one helps deal with this rejection, teens may think that the whole world is shattered. In turn, they may attempt or commit suicide.
Some teenagers feel as if they are burdens to their families. Others may feel that they cannot achieve anything in life. These personal setbacks may encourage them to commit suicide. Also, if teenagers feel they are not loved or wanted, they may lose hope. Unfortunately, such feelings can be unbearable leading to suicide.
Life is full of discouragements. This is not different for teenagers. They face several discouragements such as divorce and loss of loved ones. If teenagers have no one to help deal with this feeling, they may commit suicide.
- Drug abuse
Kids who abuse drugs tend to attempt suicide. Most teens who have committed suicide in the past years have records of overdose using a prescription, non-prescription, and over-the-counter medicine.
- Mental illness
Teenagers suffering from mental illness are at risk of suicide. This is because of hopelessness, anger, and anxiety that come with mental illnesses. But in most teens, stress does not trigger thoughts of suicide.
- Developmental changes
For some teenagers, normal developmental changes can be overly stressful. When this stress is combined with other problems, suicide may be considered a solution.
- Watching suicidal movies
Some movies show teens committing suicide. While such movies may have good intentions, they may encourage teen suicide. Watching a teen committing suicide may encourage another teen to do the same.
Today, almost every teen has a smartphone. Experts warn that this may cause more harm than good. This is because teens are at a higher risk of being bullied. If that happens, a teen may be frustrated and develop suicidal feelings.
Teenagers will not just wake up and decide to commit suicide. It is a process with several warning signs. Some behavioral signs to watch out for include;
Firstly, a teen may start withdrawing from family, and friends. Secondly, they will start losing interest in the things they loved. For example, a kid that loved going out will start losing interest. Instead, they will prefer staying indoors. Thirdly, they will neglect themselves. For example, some kids will be forced to take a bath. Fourthly, they will become violent and rebellious.
Other warning signs include a lack of energy, hopelessness, talking about suicide, and mood swings.
Common Myths About Teenager Suicide
- Firstly, it is a myth that teens who talk about suicide won’t do it. The fact is that most teens who attempt or commit suicide have previously talked about suicide. For example, some will jokingly say ‘I will be gone soon’. Such statements should be taken seriously. They may indicate a serious suicidal feeling.
- Secondly, teens who attempt suicide are crazy. This is a myth.
- The fact is most teens who attempt or commit suicide are upset or depressed. Only a few are insane or psychotic.
- Thirdly, teens who commit suicide refuse to ask for help. This is a myth.
- The fact is most teens seek help before committing suicide. They try to talk to their parents, friends, teachers and even seek medical help.
- Fourthly, people believe that talking about suicide encourages teens to commit suicide. This is a myth. The fact is that talking about suicide helps save lives. This is why it is important to talk about it honestly and openly.
- Fifthly, nothing can stop a teen from committing suicide. This is a myth.
The fact is that there is a lot we can do to stop a teen from committing suicide. Below we discuss some of these ways.
Teenager Suicide Prevention
We can use various strategies to prevent teen suicide, which include:
- The first strategy is offering a listening and empathetic ear. Let the suicidal person know that they are not alone. Show them that you care. This may require a lot of courage and patience. But do take care of yourself. Dealing with a suicidal person may give more difficult emotions. You also need support. Talk to a trusted person or counselor.
- The second strategy is to get professional help. Consider calling the emergency or crisis lines for help. Look for mental health professionals. Ask about a mental treatment facility. Alternatively, accompany them to a doctor’s appointment. Do everything in your power to help a suicidal person.
- Third, keep the suicidal teen away from potential means of suicide. For example, keep them company or ensure they are not alone. Keep medications away to avoid a possible overdose. Keep firearms away.
- Fourth, help the teen to follow the treatment plan. This will encourage them to follow the doctor’s recommendations. Also, encourage a healthy lifestyle including eating well, exercising, and quality sleep.