Suicides among young people nationwide have increased dramatically in recent years. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.
Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up.
For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. In some cases, suicide appears to be a "solution."
Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable mental disorders. The child or adolescent needs to have his or her illness recognized and diagnosed, and appropriate treatment plans developed. When parents are in doubt whether their child has a serious problem, a psychiatric examination can be very helpful.
Many of the symptoms of suicidal feelings are similar to those of depression. Parents should be aware of the following signs of adolescents who may try to kill themselves:
A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also:
If a child or adolescent says, "I want to kill myself," or "I'm going to commit suicide," always take the statement seriously and seek evaluation from a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other physician. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than "putting thoughts in the child's head," such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.
If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need to talk to their
child about their concerns and seek professional help when the concerns
persist. With support from family and professional treatment, children
and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a more healthy
path of development.
Daycare.com would like to thank American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare a more productive and efficient service. You can contact them at: 3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 voice: 202-966-7300 fax: 202-966-2891.