Watch for signs, get help to prevent teen suicide

October 23, 2012

By Lee Xie

Lee Xie
Skyline High School

Teen suicide is the second leading cause of death in youths ages 15-25.

Suicide rates among youths have increased, and the death of these promising individuals have afflicted communities all across the nation in every demographic, leaving family and friends to mourn.

Locally, we have also lost many bright, young lives.

In Sammamish, The Christian Knudsen Life Fund was established in remembrance of 14-year-old Christian Knudsen, who took his own life this summer. It works “to help youth pastors, youth counselors and those in youth support positions to be well-prepared to truly help the lost children and families crying out for help in this situation, before it is too late.” Donations can be made at Key Bank branches or sent to  777 108th Ave. N.E., No. 1800, Bellevue, WA 98004.

Teen suicide is often talked about in the halls of schools around Issaquah and Sammamish.

“There needs to be more consequences toward bullying in schools, as it is a big problem that often leads teens to depression and suicide,” Emily Jones, a senior at Skyline High School, said.

Often, teens feel lost and don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings with an adult or friend. Some helpful numbers and links are:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) toll free
  • YellowRibbon.org
  • The Hotline for Suicide Crisis: 1-800-SUICIDE toll free
  • Ulifeline.org

What to watch for

Most suicidal young people don’t really want to die; they just want their pain to end. About 80 percent of people who kill themselves have given definite signals or talked about suicide. The key to prevention is to know these signs and what to do to help.
Watch for these signs. The more signs you see, the greater the risk.

  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Current talk of suicide or making a plan
  • Strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal
  • Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Hinting at not being around in the future or saying good-bye

These signs are especially noteworthy in light of:

  • a recent death or suicide of a friend or family member
  • a recent break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or conflict with parents
  • news reports of other suicides by young people in the same school or community

Other key risk factors include:

  • Readily accessible firearms
  • Impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
  • Lack of connection to family and friends (no one to talk to)

Source: Youth Suicide Prevention Program, www.yspp.org

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