According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicides for people ages 10-24 has doubled since 1994. This frightening statistic means that we all need to pay close attention to those around us. If you suspect your friend, child, or loved one is thinking about suicide, get help immediately for them. If you are the one experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, please don’t wait to get the help you need. Talk to a mental health professional or a trusted adult who can help you work through your feelings in a safe place.
3 Important Facts
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24.
- More girls plan and attempt suicide than boys but boys are four times more likely to die from suicide. This may be partly because boys are more likely to use a fast and lethal method than girls.
- Nearly half of all people who suffer from bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once. Twenty percent of people with bipolar disorder die by suicide.
Signs to look for
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as buying a gun or hoarding medication
- Feeling hopeless or as if there is no reason to live
- Talking about a specific suicide plan
- Feeling trapped, desperate, or a need to escape an intolerable situation
- Feeling like they are a burden to others
- Isolation from family, friends and others
- Difficulty sleeping
- Acting irritable or agitated
- Showing rage or talking about getting revenge being rejected or victimized
Take any talk or feelings of suicide seriously. If your loved one is talking about, threatening, or making plans for suicide, this is a crisis situation. Do not leave them alone. Be sure to remove any firearms, drugs (including over-the-counter medications) and sharp objects from the home. Take the person to the nearest emergency room or walk-in clinic. If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are a parent of a child experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, talking about these thoughts and feelings is critical. Maintaining a good, supportive relationship with your child is key to assessing risk and preventing suicidal behaviors. Communicate with your child openly and freely and express your love for them. Let them know that things will get better, even if it seems like they won’t.
Getting treatment for your child is also important to helping them to manage the suicidal thoughts. Seek the help of medical doctors and/or a mental health professional who can diagnose and treat the underlying source of the suicidal thoughts and feelings. Individual or family therapy may be necessary to help your child.
Educate yourself on suicide causes, prevention and treatment. This will help you to recognize suicidal warning signs in your child so that you can provide them with helpful resources.
Common Q and A
- Why do people feel suicidal?
Lots of factors can cause a person to consider suicide:
- Family history of suicide
- Mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, borderline personality disorder, psychotic disorders)
- Substance abuse
- Chronic stress from bullying, harassment, abuse, or relationship problems
- Exposure to peer groups or media that glorify suicide
- Aren't suicidal thoughts normal in stressful life situations?
No. People may feel intense sadness, anxiety or anger after a difficult life situation. Most people, however, do not wish to die in these situations. Thoughts or feelings of suicide during painful life events are a signal that the person needs professional help.
- What are common myths about suicide?
Some people think that you don’t need to take talk of dying or suicide seriously because the person saying those things just wants attention. This is not true. Always take talk of suicide seriously.
Another common myth is that asking about suicidal thoughts or intentions directly will “plant” the idea in the person’s mind. This is not true. In fact, someone experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel relieved to have a safe person to talk to.
- Do suicidal people really want to die?
Sometimes, yes. But it’s important to keep in mind that most suicidal people are ambivalent about dying. What they want is to stop hurting emotionally. But they may not be able to see solutions to their problems or they may feel that the pain will never end. This is why it’s very important to get help for a suicidal individual. A therapist or doctor can help treat the feelings or thoughts causing the suicidal ideation. Suicide can be prevented when we’re willing and able to get help in time.