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Teens and suicide are more closely linked than expected. Many young people know of other young people who have seriously considered suicide, made a suicide plan attempted or committed suicide.
Talking calmly about suicide, without showing fear or making judgments, can bring relief to someone who is feeling terribly isolated. A willingness to listen shows sincere concern and encouraging someone to speak about his or her suicidal feelings can reduce the risk of an attempt.
Suicide is often a process, not an event. Most people who have died by suicide gave some or even many indications of their intentions.
Suicidal youth are in pain. Many don’t really want to die; they just want to end their pain. They don’t believe they have any choices except to end their pain by killing themselves.
The helplessness, feeling of depression and thoughts about killing themselves last for only a limited period of time. Proper treatment can lead to a full, productive and enjoyable life. Suicidal people can be helped.
More women attempt suicide than men, however, men are successful more often. A female is more able to express feelings and ask for help. Also a woman is more likely to use an overdose of drugs or slash her wrists in her attempt. Either of these methods permits time for intervention. A man is more likely to choose a more violent method.
Those who abuse alcohol and drugs are at a higher risk for committing suicide. Instead of an escape the drugs become a problem in themselves. Access to drugs increases the likelihood of an overdose.
Youth who have made suicide attempts are at a greater risk for future attempts.
If the conditions that caused the first attempt are not identified and dealt with, the person may find it easier to try a second time. Most repeated attempts happen about three months after what seems like “improvement”.
Not all people who commit suicide are mentally ill, but chronic mental illness increases the risk for suicide. One does not have to be “crazy” to experience a serious crisis.
Marked improvement in mental state could indicate that the person has made the decision to commit suicide and has planned how and when to do it. This decision brings relief, an increase in energy and an improvement in mood. This is the time to be most concerned for the person’s safety.
Experiencing a loss of a relationship is the most common significant event preceding suicide. This loss may come from the breakup of a relationship, separation or divorce of parents, as well as death of a loved one.
Suicide tendencies aren’t inherited. However, death in the family, whether natural, accidental or suicidal, can lead to suicide of a family member if a resulting depression is not treated. If a family member commits suicide, the suicidal act may be imitated because family members identify with each other and tend to copy each other’s style of coping behaviour.
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