Stop Teenage Suicide
This brochure provides information about commonly held myths
and warning signs for suicide and offers practical suggestions to
parents, teachers, and teenagers to help prevent suicide. The most
important concept is that teenagers are passionate, so many suicide
attempts occur with very little forethought. Survivors of teen suicide
attempts relate that the interval between the decision to take one's
life and the attempt is often less than 1 hour. Moreover, mood
disorders, conduct disorders, and other mental health issues are
prominent in the later teenage years. While this material complements
other AAP resources regarding teen mental health issues, it does
not substitute for more in-depth discussions about adolescent
mental health issues.
There are some concepts that are worth reiterating.
How to Use This Tool
- Teenagers unsure about their sexual orientation, or who have
identified themselves as homosexual, are at far greater risk for
suicide. These teenagers and their families may wish to join
local support groups for help.
- The presence of a handgun increases the likelihood that a
suicide attempt will be lethal. It is important for the clinician to
discuss the removal of handguns from the home of any teenager
who has a mental health issue.
- This brochure can open dialogue about intense and passionate
emotions teenagers experience as a segue to asking directly about
suicide thoughts. "Many teenagers have had suicidal thoughts
or feelings. Are there times that you have had thoughts about
suicide or hurting yourself?"
This brochure can be used as an aid for communities and schools
when teenagers in the community have committed or attempted suicide
to prevent contagious suicide events.
- This brochure can be an introductory tool for developing family
safety plans with patients who are known to be at risk or have
had suicidal thoughts, including teens with known mental health
or severe social difficulties or teens with high emotional intensity
- Introducing the topic indirectly may encourage more verbalization
of the teenager's concerns, but direct questions about suicidal
thoughts should not be avoided. "Many teenagers know someone
who has been suicidal or attempted suicide. Has this occurred
Review teenagers' emotional supports.
- Clinicians should be aware of psychiatric crisis services numbers
and how to access emergency psychiatric services.
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