thoughts and acts come from a desire to stop anguish or (what feels
like) intolerable pain. It is often said that suicide is a permanent
solution to a temporary problem. In fact, it is never
a solution. Sometimes, people who attempt or complete suicide are
acting impulsively (and in reaction to pain) -- and they would not
choose to end their lives the next day -- or even the in the next hour.
Unfortunately, some people do not survive long enough to make a
can be prevented by breaking what could be a fatal secret, offering
help, getting other people (especially loved ones) to be informed and
responsive, creating a community of support around a person who is at
risk. There are many ways to do this, and sometimes it can help to get
advice or counseling about what steps to take if you are concerned that a
person you know is suicidal. It is always better to do something
rather than nothing.
1-800-273-TALK (8255): NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
Toll-free. Confidential crisis counseling, 24/7. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT TEEN SUICIDE
MYTH: Young people who talk about suicide rarely attempt it.
FACT: Most young people who attempt or complete suicide have spoken about it.
MYTH: Talking about suicide will encourage young people to think about it or attempt it.
about suicide will not "put ideas" into the minds of young people or
encourage them to become suicidal. There is strong evidence that once a
suicide occurs in a community, others may follow in a type of
"contagious" reaction if the topic is not discussed.
MYTH: The tendency toward being suicidal is genetically inherited.
is no evidence of a genetic basis or link to suicide A previous
suicide in the family may create a destructive model for dealing with
stress and depression.
MYTH: Most Teen suicides occur at night.
teenage suicides occur between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. in the
afternoon, presumably when the suicidal person can be seen and stopped.
MYTH: Suicidal people leave notes.
FACT: Only a small percentage of suicidal people leave notes.
MYTH: If a person wants to commit suicide, nothing can stop them.
No one is suicidal all of the time. Suicidal people often express
mixed feelings about death. Many suicides can be prevented.
MYTH: Youth who commit suicide are mentally ill.
Mental illness increases the risk of suicide. However, many young
people who attempt suicide are reacting (impulsively) to an accumulation
of stressors and might react very differently if given more time. They
might not be considered mentally ill.
MYTH: A teen who has been suicidal is never out of danger.
Many young people who have been depressed or suicidal recover and lead
productive, normal lives. They learn constructive ways to cope with
their feelings. They achieve a greater sense of control over their
choices and lives.
1. Previous threats or attempts of suicide.
2. Support or interest in a person who has committed suicide (such as a role model or celebrity).
3. Expressed feelings of failure.
4. Radical personality changes (e.g. persistent sadness, loss of interest in usual activities).
5. Withdrawal from family, friends and regular activities.
6. Changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns.
7. Neglect of personal appearance.
8. A decline in the quality of school-work.
9. Expressions of anger, rebelliousness, violence.
10. Drug and/or alcohol abuse.
11. Verbal hints (e.g. "I will not be a problem for you much longer," or "Nothing matters").
12. Giving away favorite possessions.
13. Suddenly becoming cheerful after a prolonged depression (which may indicate the decision to commit suicide has been made).
What To Do If I'm Concerned That A Person May Be Suicidal?
- Don't leave the person alone.
- Remove fire arms, alcohol, drugs and sharp objects.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Bring the Person to the Emergency Room for immediate help & screening.