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Suicide Awareness

     It is estimated that 42 percent of female and 55 percent of male teens have at least once thought seriously about suicide. More than 5,000 teenagers kill themselves each year. Suicide is one of the major causes of death among 15-24 year olds. These are terrifying statistics that needs to be understood and addressed by parents and educators across our country.

     Changes in behavior and teen depression do not always indicate someone is suicidal, but if several of the following signs persist over time, the teen needs help:

* Sleep, appetite and personality changes.
* Behavioral outbursts or bizarre behavior.
* Withdrawal.
* Overwhelming sense of guilt or shame.
* Fatigue, physical complaints, hopelessness or despair.
* Obsessive fears, preoccupation with death.
* Giving away treasured belongings.
* Talking about suicide.

     If someone you know appears suicidal, always take it seriously, be reassuring, listen without lecturing, ask him or her to seek help and tell someone who cares about the teen. Whether you are a parent, a relative or a friend you can make a difference by providing support and most importantly, by providing a safe, non-judgmental haven of love and understanding.

     Matters like these can eat away at parents and loved ones. It is suggested that parents seek out support groups for their own emotional outlet.

Warning Signs

What are some of the warning signs that you need to be on the lookout for?

* Depression is a major factor in suicide. Watch for symptoms like eating and sleep disorders, mood changes, withdrawal - especially withdrawal from friends - irritation, sudden changes in grades, loss of interest in school or hobbies, substance abuse, inability to concentrate, fatigue or loss of energy.
* Giving away treasured possessions
* Being preoccupied with death
* Making allusions or threats to suicide. These should always be taken seriously.

     Ask your teen what's troubling them. Express concern and offer your unconditional love. Seek professional help through school counselors or outside professional. Most suicidal teens don't want to die. They want to live differently. Heeding a cry for help can save your teen's life.

Related Links
Difficult Teens
Teenage Depression
School Troubles
Teens & The Wrong Crowd
Teen Rebellion
Drugs, Alcohol and Your Teen