Globally, over 800,000 people die each year of suicide, and there are MANY more who attempt suicide [World Health Organization (WHO), 2012]. Teen suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death among teens/young adults ages 15-29 years old (WHO, 2012).
Additional Teen Suicide Statistics for the U.S.
- There is an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12.
- Approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments.
- Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide.
- Girls are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys.
Sixth Grader Thinking About Suicide
Suicide, in general, is a major concern, and the rate of teen suicide is alarming. My daughter knows a girl who talked about it because of her home environment. My daughter is in sixth grade! I had the opportunity to speak to my daughter about how this girl can help herself, how my daughter can help this girl, and how others around this girl can help her. This is discussed further below.
- History of previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- History of depression or other mental illness
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life event or loss
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
How Can the Teen Help Him/Herself?
In an acute suicide situation, talk to a supportive person. Get help. Call a friend, a trusted family member or adult, speak to a church leader, etc. Reach out. View the Who to Call numbers below.
If you are not in an acute situation, meaning you are not having immediate suicidal ideations, think of a plan. Children do not get to choose their parents. Some parents have stresses they are dealing with, and the children slip through the cracks. Some children are bullied and don’t feel comfortable telling anyone. There are multiple reasons why children may feel like their lives are worthless. The best advice I have for any situation is to stay busy by surrounding yourself with positive environments and people (the best that you can). If it is your parents who are driving your nuts, try to get involved in free extracurricular activities (if your parents can’t afford to put you into anything). If you are old enough to work, you may want to get a job to stay busy. Look for role models outside your home.
I didn’t have role models within my home growing up. I kept busy with work and extracurricular activities that were offered by the school. I made sure I maintained good grades because in my eyes, college was my ticket to independence.
Additionally, having a great church environment can give you hope. You have to cling to knowing there is better for you in the future. That will keep you going.
How Can Friends Help?
If a friend makes suicidal threats, you want to protect him/her. Therefore, this should be reported to a respected adult like your parent or a school official.
If the friend is just having a rough time but the friend is safe, listen and give support. The person going through a rough time may just need to know that other people care about him/her.
How Can Adults Help?
Again, if the situation is acute, you want to seek help for the child. If the situation isn’t acute, allow the child in your home (if the other parents allow it). Provide a calm, loving environment for the child. Additionally, there are children who may want to participate in activities outside of school but do not have a ride or the means. Sponsor a child or be willing to transport the child to and from practice if you are already taking your child. These teens need to be around good role models. They need to see hope.
Who to Call?
There are many great points of discussion and tips that can be shared on teen suicide, but for this post, I wanted to touch on the subject and give some advice. The topic of teen suicide can be uncomfortable to talk about, but I believe it’s too important to ignore. It’s more common than some may think, and it is occurring at younger ages. If we all keep our eyes and hearts open to helping a child/teen who may be struggling and teach our children to be friends with everyone because they never know what another person may be going through, we could help prevent teen suicides. Every child’s/teen’s life is worth saving ❤️.
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