year in the US, 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 to
a life of pain and sorrow.
and suicidal feelings are treatable mental disorders.
The child needs to have 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. The following
activities might be signs of suicidal tendencies in
in eating and sleeping habits
*withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
*violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running
*drug and alcohol use
*unusual neglect of personal appearance
*marked personality change
*persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or
a decline in the quality of schoolwork
*frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often
related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches,
*loss of interest in pleasurable activities
*no acceptance of praise or reward
*complaints of being a bad person or feeling “rotten
*verbal hints with statements such as: “I won’t
be a problem for you much longer,” “Nothing
matters,” “It’s no use,” and
“I won’t see you again”
*giving away favorite possessions, cleaning his or
her room, throwing away important belongings, etc.
*becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
*having signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre
If one or more of these signs occurs, talk to your
child about their concerns and seek professional help
when the concerns persist. 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. Asking your
child about your concerns will provide assurance that
somebody cares and will give the young person the
chance to talk about problems. With support from family
and professional treatment, children and teenagers
who are suicidal can heal and return to a healthier
path of development.