When a Teen Threatens Suicide

By Karen O’Connor:


“Suicide is the third highest cause of death among teens,” reported marriage and family counselor, Erin Torr from Santa Cruz, California, following a seminar she attended to help counselors, parents, students, and teachers take steps when a teen threatens suicide.

Mark Gregston, author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and executive director of Heartlight, a residential counseling program for struggling adolescents, in an article on Crosswalk.com, confirm those statistics. (See the article: What Parents Should Know About Teen Suicide.) 

Fact is, before the 1960’s, suicide by adolescents happened only rarely; but today, nearly one in ten teens contemplates suicide, and over 500,000 attempt it each year. While suicide rates for all other ages have dropped, suicides among teens have nearly tripled.”

Statistics can be alarming, but when a teen threatens suicide the numbers don’t matter. All you can think of is getting to that young man or woman before it’s too late. Torr offered some guidance:

“Talking directly and specifically is key,” she said. “The tendency is to assume you’ll encourage suicide if you name it or ask for details about a plan, weapons, pills, and so on. But the opposite is true.

It’s essential to get young people to talk about their feelings of hopelessness and despair. Externalizing their thinking takes some of the power out of their desire to end their lives, and can actually help them become open to new options for feeling better or different.”

Gregston agrees:

“Please don’t be slow in getting professional help.  I’ve seen many hundreds of teenagers who have become different people from medication designed to correct a deficiency in their developing brain. Others are helped by regular counseling to deal with their inner issues, or with treatment for their drug habit or other addictions in their life.  Get the help your teen needs, before they become a statistic.”

Check out this excellent YouTube: The Truth About Teenage Suicide (Reaching out).

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About ThinkingAboutSuicide.com

If depressed and suicidal, get help by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline. IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911.1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or (in Spanish)
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432).
Our blog, Thinking About Suicide, offers personal stories and prayers from those who have overcome the urge to commit suicide or lost someone to suicide. We also list resources related to depression, bullying, cutting and other mental health related topics or news.
Use our SEARCH box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics. Our authors hope to encourage you and remind you that others in situations like yours have found hope and help. We hope and pray you do too. However, we also encourage you to get local help if you are suicidal: call a counselor or the suicide prevention hotline to connect personally with someone who can help you.

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