Suicide among many young people has continued to be a serious problem. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, youth, and young adults these days.
The majority of children and adolescents who attempt suicide have a significant mental health disorder, usually Depression.
Among younger children, suicide attempts are oftenspontaneous. They may be associated with feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, or problems with attention and hyperactivity.
Among teenagers, suicide attempts may be associated with feelings of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, disappointment, and loss. For some teens and youth, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems.
Depression and suicidal feelings are Treatable mental disorders. The child or youth needs to have his or her illness recognized and diagnosed, and appropriately treated with a comprehensive treatment plan.
Thoughts about suicide and suicide attempts are often associated with depression. In addition to depression, other risk factors include: family history of suicide attempts, exposure to violence, carefree, aggressive or disruptive behavior, bullying, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, and severe loss or rejection
Teens and youth who are thinking about suicide may make openly suicidal statements or comments such as, “I wish I was dead,” or “I won’t be a problem for you much longer.” Other warning signs associated with suicide can include; changes in eating or sleeping habits, frequent or unescapable sadness, withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities, frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomach-aches, headaches, fatigue, etc., decline in the quality of schoolwork, and worryabout death and dying.
Young people who are thinking about suicide may also stop planning for or talking about the future. They may begin to give away important possessions.
Many troubling and difficult situations can make a Teen and Youth consider suicide. The same emotional states that make adults weak to considering suicide also apply to teenagers and youth. Those with good support networks (e.g., among family and peers, or extracurricular sport, social, or religious associations) are likely to have an outlet to help them deal with their feelings. Others without such networks are more prone during their emotional changes, and may feel that they’re all alone in times of trouble.
Apart from the normal pressures of teens and youth’s life, specific situations can contribute to the teens and youth thinking of suicide. It’s especially difficult when they are challenged with problems that are out of their control, such as:
- divorce, •a new family formation (e.g., step-parents and step-siblings), •moving to a different community, •physical or sexual abuse, •emotional neglect, •exposure to domestic violence, •alcoholism in the home, •substance abuse. Many suicides are committed by people who are depressed. Depression is a mental health disorder. It causes chemical imbalances in the brain, which can lead to despondency, lethargy, or general apathy towards life. Almost half of 14- and 15-year-olds have reported feeling some symptoms of depression, which makes coping with the extensive stresses of adolescence all the more difficult. Symptoms of depression in youth are often overlooked or passed off as being typical “adolescent turmoil.” In addition, some serious problem that can lead teens and youth to suicide or aid in their plans to end their lives is the easy access many of them have to drugs and alcohol.
Though many suicidal teens appear depressed or sad, others hide their problems underneath a disguise of excess energy. If a teens and youth starts showing unusual worry and hyperactivity, it may also signal the presence of an underlying problem. This restlessness may take the form of argumentative or aggressive behaviour.
More obvious signs that an adolescent may be suicidal include low self-esteem and self-deprecating remarks. Some teens come right out and talk or write about their suicidal thoughts – this should be taken seriously, and not ignored with the hope that it’s a passing phase. Any previous attempts at suicide are loud and clear cries for help, which demand responses before it’s too late.
TREATMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK FOR SUICIDE
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your suicidal thoughts and behavior. In most cases, however, treatment consists of Talk therapy and Medication.
Talk therapy, also known as Psychotherapy, is one possible treatment method for lowering your risk of committing suicide. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that’s often used for people who are having thoughts of suicide. It teaches you how to work through stressful life events and emotions that may be contributing to your suicidal thoughts and behavior. CBT can also help you replace negative beliefs with positive ones and regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life.
If talk therapy isn’t enough to successfully lower your risk, then you may be prescribed medication that can ease symptoms caused by certain physical and mental health conditions. Treating the underlying cause of symptoms can help reduce the frequency of suicidal thoughts. You may be prescribed one or more of the following types of medication:
- Antidepressants, •Antipsychotic medications, •Anti-anxiety medications.
In addition to taking medication and participating in talk therapy, you can reduce your risk for suicide by making certain adjustments to your lifestyle. These include:
Avoiding alcohol and drugs: Abstaining from using alcohol and drugs is critical, as these substances can increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts.
Exercising regularly: Exercising at least three times per week, especially outdoors and in moderate sunlight, can also help. Physical activity stimulates the production of certain brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Sleeping well: It’s also important to get at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. Talk to your health care provider if you’re having trouble sleeping.
HOW TO PREVENT SUICIDE
To help prevent suicidal thoughts, you should:
Talk to someone. You should never try to manage suicidal feelings entirely on your own. Getting professional help and support from loved ones can make it easier to overcome any challenges that are causing suicidal thoughts or behavior.
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WHO MAY BE FEELING SUICIDAL
If you suspect that a family member or friend may be considering suicide, you should talk to them about your concerns. You can begin the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way. You may ask them:
- Have you ever thought about committing suicide?
- Have you ever taken steps to commit suicide?
- Have you ever attempted to commit suicide in the past?
If they answer “Yes” to any of those questions, then they are at a high risk of trying to commit suicide and they should get medical care immediately.
If your friend or loved one isn’t in immediate danger but is having suicidal thoughts, then you can simply speak to them about the challenges they may be facing. During the conversation, make sure you:
- Stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
- Acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
- Offer support and encouragement
- Reassure them that suicidal feelings are temporary
- Tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment
You should never minimize their problems or shame them into changing their mind. Listening to them and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also try encouraging them to seek professional care. Offer to help them find a doctorwho has knowledge on mental health issues, or go with them to their first appointment.
It’s critical to take action if you’re in a position to help. Starting a conversation and risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
Aside from professional treatment, a suicidal teen needs to know there are people who care, and who are available to talk to. Good support means listening to what’s troubling somebody without passing judgment on his or her feelings. A person should be reassured that there are always solutions to problems or ways other than suicide for coping with them. Giving an adolescent the chance to open up and talk about his or her feelings will help relieve some of the suffering of those intense emotions, and make that person feel less alone.
Some parents may find that their adolescent child resists their advances and isn’t willing to confide in them. When teens insist their parents just “don’t understand,” it might be a good idea to suggest they talk to a more unbiased or emotionally neutral person. This can include other family members, religious leaders, a school counsellor, a coach, or a trusted doctor.