What Parents Need to Know About Teen Suicide
From Kathryn Rudlin
Teen Suicide Myth #1
Teens who threaten to commit suicide aren’t serious about following through; they are just looking for attention.
Teens usually excel at hiding problems, especially from adults. A teen who is talking about suicide needs to be listened to carefully and taken seriously. This is a time when receiving attention is exactly what’s needed as the teen is trying to express how much pain they are in.
Teen Suicide Myth #2
Asking a teen if they are considering suicide will make them decide to do so.
This is a common fear in dealing with a teen who is suicidal but the opposite is true, if the teen is feeling desperate enough to consider suicide, it will be a relief to know someone else understands and will listen. If they are not suicidal, saying the word will not compel them to start feeling that way.
Teen Suicide Myth #3
Teens who aren’t successful in completing a suicide attempt weren’t really serious about it in the first place.
A teen that attempts suicide is trying to stop their pain and suffering. Teens who make an attempt are at much higher risk to try again, they’ve learned what doesn’t work and will likely not repeat their mistakes.
Teen Suicide Myth #4
Teens who commit suicide always act sad and depressed before doing so.
Depressed teens frequently don’t appear sad or depressed, in fact they can even seem happy at times, depending on what’s going on in their lives. Suicidal ideation can come on suddenly, usually brought about by unexpected, negative changes in a teens’ life.
Teen Suicide Myth #5
Teens think about whether to commit suicide before taking steps to do so.
The decision to commit suicide is often an impulsive one, especially in troubled teens. In a situation where a teen feels overwhelmed with painful feelings and can’t picture things improving, suicide may seem the only way out and there may seem to be no reason to wait or think more about it.
Teen Suicide Myth #6
Suicide isn’t very common in teens.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst teens. Teens who are depressed or using drugs are at the highest risk of taking their own life.
Teen Suicide Myth #7
A teen with a specific plan for how to commit suicide isn’t any more likely to follow through than a teen who is just thinking about it.
A teen with a specific plan for how and when to commit suicide is a teen in serious trouble. When a mental health professional assesses a teen for suicide risk, meeting this criteria means the teen is potentially in immediate danger and steps need to be taken to ensure their safety.