Suicide Risks and Teenagers
Life can be challenging for teenagers. Their brains are still developing, their bodies are changing, and their hormones are fluctuating. During this stage of life, teenagers struggle to establish meaningful relationships outside of the family and try to find the group of friends where they “fit in”. They also begin to test limits and frequently push back against authority in an attempt to separate from their family of origin and define their own identity. Some teenagers manage this time fairly well, but others can end up feeling lost, alone, angry, or depressed.
Because teenagers are impulsive and have under-developed coping skills, they can become acutely suicidal very quickly. Teenagers are at greater risk than adults to act out on their suicidal thoughts without giving much warning. As a result, it is important to recognize some of the risk factors associated with teenage suicide.
- Recent break-up or perceived rejection by peer group
- Victim of bullying or cyber-bullying
- Past sexual abuse or severe physical abuse
- Cutting or other self-harming behaviors
- Alcohol and Drug Use
- Recent suicide by a friend or another student at school
- Feeling desperate or hopeless
Risk of Suicide Contagion
A suicide at school by a teenager may make other teenagers at that school more likely to act on their own suicidal impulses. Teenagers that are most at risk are those that 1) witnessed the suicide or its aftermath, 2) had a social or emotional connection to the deceased teenager, and 3) are already “at risk” due to struggles with depression or other mental health issues. As a result, it is important to give teenagers a lot of opportunity to talk through their feelings about any recent suicides that may occur at their school.
Helpful Responses To Distressed Teenagers
- Take verbalization of suicidal thoughts seriously.
- Address issues around bullying. Realize that bullying tends to isolate teenagers and can be a vicious attack on their self -esteem. As a result, teenagers need a lot of support when they are trying to overcome bullying.
- Help your teenager develop supportive peer groups.
- Keep pills and weapons locked up.
- Encourage your teenager to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
- Get them help.
If you have a teenager that is struggling with suicidal thoughts, New Dimensions can help!
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Suicide Help: We serve Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Clear Lake, League City, Friendswood, Galveston, Pearland, Pasadena, Baytown, Spring, Conroe, Kingwood, Sugarland, Cypress, Tomball, Richmond, Humble, Huntsville, Bellaire, Seabrook, Alvin, Missouri City, Lake Jackson, and surrounding areas