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Preventing Teen Suicide

Is Depression Linked to Suicide? continued...

A mental health professional (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist) diagnoses and treats depression. Depression is diagnosed when someone has at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling down, depressed or sad most of the day; feeling irritable and angry.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain; a decrease or increase in appetite.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling very nervous and hyper; feeling sluggish.
  • Fatigue or no energy.
  • Feeling worthless or unnecessarily guilty.
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or indecisiveness.
  • Either recurrent thoughts of death without a specific plan or a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide.

If you feel a sense of hopelessness, talk to your parents or guardians. They can make you an appointment with a mental health professional for a diagnosis and proper treatment, possibly including medications and/or therapy.

Restrict Access to Suicide Methods

One key protective factor of suicide is to restrict access to the methods for committing it. It's vital for friends and family members of someone who is at risk of suicide to understand the methods commonly used.

The most common method of successful suicide among young adults is firearms. If your parents, family members, or adult friends own guns, they should take careful measures -- especially gun trigger locks and locked cabinets -- to ensure that someone with risk factors for suicide cannot get to the weapon.Such safety precautions also prevent accidental misuse by children.

Other common methods of suicide are asphyxiation, drowning, cutting arteries, overdosing on medications or illegal drugs, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Friends and family of someone with suicide risk factors should take all available steps to restrict that person's access to things like knives, rope, pipes, and medication.

What Should I Do If Someone Threatens Suicide?

Take any suicidal thought or suicide threat seriously. Even if the person seems to have the "perfect life" on the outside, it is impossible to know what is going on behind closed doors.

Teens contemplating suicide should seek immediate help from friends, family, and health care or mental health care professionals. Anyone confronted with a teen threatening suicide should contact mental health care professionals at once.

Even if you have doubts about the seriousness of a suicidal threat, you should still consider it an emergency and take appropriate action.

Help for Teens Considering Suicide

There are many resources available to teens who are thinking about suicide. Close friends, family members, teachers, and other members of the community can provide comfort and moral support.

If you're feeling suicidal or know someone who is, don't be afraid to approach these people to express your feelings. They can help save your life -- or the life of your friend or family member. Religious groups and community organizations are also a valuable resource. In addition, there are many suicide hotlines that provide anonymous assistance. One of them is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on February 03, 2012

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