Military Teen Talk: Teen suicide is no joke
Kari Villafane, Fort Stewart Public Affairs Teen Volunteer

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Studies show that four out of five teen suicide attempts have been preceded by clear warning signs, make sure you know them. Keep reading to learn what teen suicide warning signs to look for, including warning signs or indications of a suicide plan.

Teen suicide is a very real problem in the United States. With many pressures and a variety of emotional, social and Family issues to confront, many teenagers find themselves having suicidal thoughts. Part of averting a teen suicide is being involved in your teen's life and watching for teen suicide warning signs. It is also important to note that many of the teen suicide warning signs are also indications of depression.

Teen suicide warning signs

It is important to take the warning signs of teen suicide seriously and to seek help if you thing that you know a teenager who might be suicidal. Here are some of the things to look for:

• Disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities
• Problems at work and losing interest in a job
• Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs) use
• Behavioral problems
• Withdrawing from Family and friends
• Sleep changes
• Changes in eating habits
• Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
• Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigue, migraines)
• Hard time concentrating and paying attention
• Declining grades in school
• Loss of interest in schoolwork
• Risk taking behaviors
• Complains more frequently of boredom
• Does not respond as before to praise

Not all of these teen suicide warning signs will be present in cases of possible teen suicide. There are many cases in which a good student commits suicide. It is important to watch for two or three signs as indications of depression, or even teen suicidal thoughts.

Indications of a suicide plan

There are some things that teens might do that could indicate that they are contemplating, or even planning, suicide. It is important that you make yourself aware of these actions, and use them as starting points to draw your teenager out and perhaps express what is bothering him or her. Here are some of the indications of a suicide plan:

• Actually says, "I'm thinking of committing suicide" or "I want to kill myself" or "I wish I could die."
• There are also verbal hints that could indicate suicidal thoughts or plans. These include such phrases as: "I want you to know something, in case something happens to me" or "I won't trouble you anymore."
• Teenager begins giving away favorite belongings, or promising them to friends and Family Members.
• Throws away important possessions.
• Shows signs of extreme cheerfulness following periods of depression.
• Creates suicide notes.
• Expresses bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion.

What should you do if you think someone is suicidal?

If you think someone is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Eliminate access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including unsupervised access to medications.

Teen suicide is something that not many people like to talk about, but the fact of the matter is, it's a very real problem in the United States. This situation is something that can be solved even before the problem occurs; you just have to know the correct way to deal with it.

With a lot of pressure and a variety of emotional, social and Family issues teens deal with, many of them find themselves having thoughts of suicide. Studies show that four out of five suicide attempts have been preceded by clear warning signs. An important way to avert a teen suicide is by making sure you are involved in your teen's life and to watch for suicide warnings. Many teen suicide warning signs are also indications of depression. Some of these signs are, disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities, behavioral problems and also substance abuse.

These are just a few of the many warning signs. Also, there are things teens may do to show you that they are considering or planning suicide. Some of these signs are throwing away important possessions, creating suicide notes and also expressing bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion.

In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death in the United States. The three most common ways that teens chose to commit suicide are by firarms, poison and suffocation. If you know someone that you think may be suicidal please get them help from their doctor or a nearby hospital. Eliminate access to firearms or any other potential tools that they can use to harm themselves.

If you are a teen and you feel that there is no way to deal with your problem, there is. Talk to someone that you can trust such as a friend, teacher and even your parents or guardian. No problem is too great to handle. Just remember that you are not in this alone and whatever you are going through someone has gone through it and has lived to tell their story.

This article is written in memory of Joshua Ray, a 2011 Liberty County high school graduate, R.I.P.

Page last updated Thu September 8th, 2011 at 00:00