According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teens.
Furthermore, the NIMH believes that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for every one that is completed. Think about it—that means for every teen who commits suicide, 25 others attempt unsuccessfully to take their lives.
Obviously, teen suicide is a real problem, but it’s a preventable one. Be proactive! If you or someone you know begins exhibiting the following warning signs of teen suicide, take action! Seek help (See resources at the bottom of this article) if you’re the one struggling, or if you identify a friend at school who is at risk, let your school counselor, your pastor, or another trusted adult know.
Here are those warning signs, according to “Teen Suicide” (Ohio State University Medical Center, Ohio State University Online).
- Disinterest in favorite extracurricular activities
- Problems at work and losing interest in a job
- Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug (illegal and legal drugs) use
- Behavioral problems
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Sleep changes
- Changes in eating habits
- Begins to neglect hygiene and other matters of personal appearance
- Emotional distress brings on physical complaints (aches, fatigues, migraines)
- Hard time concentrating and paying attention
- Declining grades in school
- Loss of interest in schoolwork
- Risk taking behaviors
- Complains more frequently of boredom
- Does not respond as before to praise
Also, if you overhear another student say something like, “I just want to die,” or “I won’t bother anyone ever again”—take those comments seriously because they just might be valid cries for help. It’s better to error on the side of caution by alerting an adult than to simply ignore the comments and hope for the best.
You Are A Treasure
Suicide is never the answer. Every person—including you, no matter how badly you may be feeling about yourself this very moment—is a precious treasure. Have you ever heard the expression, “God doesn’t make any junk?” It’s really true! You were created by Almighty God in His very image. You are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece! He adores you, and Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He has a good plan for your life, so hang on! Take time today and meditate on how much God loves you. The bible says that He loves you with an everlasting love. And, He promises to never leave you. He will walk with you through every negative circumstance and celebrate with you over every victory. And, there are victories in your future because you are a winner. Remind yourself of that daily! In fact, it wouldn’t hurt you to say it out loud right now—I am a winner!
Resources to Remember
If you are feeling hopeless today, or if you know someone who might be contemplating suicide, check out the following resources for more information.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- Deaf Hotline: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Covenant House Nineline: 1-800-999-9999
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award winning author of over 35 children’s books and hundreds of articles. Michelle teaches at Christian Writers Conferences, mentors new and established writers and is the Content Editor for iBegat.com. She lives in Indiana with her husband and two beautiful daughters. Abby Adams (left) is iBegat.com’s Dear Abby and Ally Adams is our fashion expert. Visit Michelle at www.michellemedlockadams.com