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Preventing Teenage Suicide
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and teenagers are one of the most at-risk groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for those between 10 and 24 years old, taking more lives than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, strokes, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
There are many organizations dedicated to helping those in need by providing an open ear and valuable resources. Read on to discover more on how you can help reduce the rate of teenage suicide.
Common Warning Signs of Teen Suicide
Suicidal thoughts in teenagers often result from depression, bullying, or family problems. Although they can occur for many reasons, these common warning signs can help you identify a teen who is at risk:
- Talking about wanting to die
- Changes in appearance or hygiene
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Abnormal mood swings
- Sudden drop in grades
- Risky or reckless behaviors
How to Help a Teen Who is Suicidal
Support, patience, and understanding are vital when helping a teen who is suicidal, but sometimes family and friends can’t offer teens the unbiased help they need. However, there are many organizations dedicated to helping to prevent suicide.
They are often run by volunteers who have experienced either suicidal thoughts or loss due to suicide. You can help a teen who is suicidal is by sharing these resources, and by donating time or money to keep these resources available.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is the nation’s leading suicide prevention hotline offering 24/7 free and confidential support for anyone seeking help, conversation, or support.
You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Live chat is also available online, and 988 will be the new designated three-digit dialing code for the lifeline by the summer of 2022.
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS) is a national non-profit organization. SPTS is dedicated to increasing awareness and reducing the stigma of suicide through training programs and resources.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and creating hope. AFSP works to change how mental health is understood through the following:
- Funding scientific research
- Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
- Advocating for public policies
- Supporting those affected by suicide
AFSP has also partnered with several other prominent organizations that work to prevent teen suicide.
Teen suicide often occurs due to a lack of awareness on what to look for or how to react, but it can be reduced by recognizing the warning signs and finding help when it’s needed. By supporting organizations who offer the resources that increase awareness and education of mental health, we can work towards preventing teenage suicide.