Suicide is a difficult topic. It’s hard to know what to say to reduce risk. And when we consider teens especially, it gets a little terrifying. None of us ants to mourn a young person. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce suicide risk in teens and peers. Let’s take a look at this serious topic.
Every year, people between the ages of 10 and 14 take their own lives, as do older teens and young adults. It would seem as though they have everything to look forward to, but too often, they don’t see it that way. Between 2007 and 2017, the suicide rate in 10 to 14-year-olds tripled.
Rates also rose for older teens and young adults, who saw the highest rates from the last two decades in 2019. Pressure from school, peers, and bullying may all cause the risk to rise. But there’s more to the story. The pressure that teens and young people are under today may interact with untreated mental illness to cause rising suicide rates.
A program focused on evidence-based information may help teens and their peers work with one another to help improve their quality of life. It’s important to focus on things like bullying, but other issues may cause teen suicides, too.
Losing a parent to death or divorce, being abused or mistreated, or simply struggling and feeling like no one cares may all contribute to suicide risk. Gay and transgender teens and young adults have higher suicide rates, as well, because of the stigma that still persists despite efforts at education and a lack of acceptance from family and peers.
Evidence-based programs are incredibly valuable because they ask teens to help identify the people in their peer groups who may be at risk. Teens know other teens or people in and around their age groups. Teens also know how they feel and act in certain situations and what would be hurtful to them.
By looking out for one another and seeing what their peers may be struggling with or going through, teens may have the unique opportunity to alert adults when they feel a particular person may be at risk for or contemplating suicide. By teaching teens the signs and asking them to pay attention and speak up, teens and their peers can save lives and reduce the instances of suicide in their age group.
If you or someone you love is in crisis or you’re contemplating suicide, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free, confidential, and only a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255. Or you can text CONNECT to 741741.
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