Most of us face some problems at one point of the life or other. While some of us try to actively deal with it, some others realize that the problems are too difficult for them to handle. And that is why teenage suicide is becoming a common problem these days, accounting for more than half of the deaths in the age group of 14-25 years and one-third deaths in the age group of 10-14 years. Therefore, teenage suicide has become a scorching topic of debate, with most of the people wondering how they can minimize it and reduce its risk in their own families and communities. This is difficult, especially because people harbor a myth that discussing or talking about suicide can cause it. But this is not true: talking, recognizing the risk and identifying the problems can reduce suicidal behavior. Read these strategies to know how you can identify and prevent possible suicidal behavior in your home.
Most of the parents, siblings or relatives believe that suicidal behavior and tendencies shall not be discussed because they are a taboo. But such an idea is baseless. Discussing and talking about suicide and the reason behind it can actually lead to lower suicide. But only one percent of teens, who complete suicides are under treatment during the time of their deaths. Therefore, as concerned guardians, you must seek help from a counselor or a psychiatrist if you feel that someone in your family can attempt suicide. Mental health professionals will not just help a teenager to deal with life crises that may be prompting him to kill himself, but it will also help the teenager to get stronger on emotional levels, giving him the required support. So, never ever feel afraid or embarrassed to talk about suicidal tendencies that you or your family member may be having.
Get rid of lethal weapons
Studies indicate that over 60 percent of boys who have completed suicides have used firearms to kill themselves. Over 20 percent of teenage girls also follow the same rule. Therefore, as parents or guardians, you must make sure that possible means of committing suicide or lethal weapon is to remove all firearms, especially guns and rifles. Make sure that the firearms are under lock, or otherwise any teenager can steal away firearms and kill himself. You should also keep your arms separate and away from ammunition while making sure that your house is not just full of loaded weapons. Understand that lethal medications like prescribed and over the counter medications must also be given in the perfect quantity.
Remove drugs and alcohol
Teenagers who have completed or attempted suicides tend to drink and smoke. Studies indicate that 50 percentage of teen suicides involve prior usage of alcohol. One must understand that the frontal cortex of brain develops during adolescence and so alcohol and other drugs can’t only reduce the thinking and planning process, but it can also increase the likelihood of impulsive actions, including suicide attempt. So, as a parent, you must ensure that your child doesn’t have drugs, alcohol or lethal weapons that can be used during a suicide attempt. Also, you must monitor TV and video games that your child plays. This age is pretty delicate for an individual, so make sure that you monitor your child’s activities without being forceful or intruding.
Know what your child is going through
Most of the parents are so struck at earning money and making a strong living that they fail to realize what their adolescent is going through. So, you should be a well aware parent and know the problems that your teen is facing, including problems related to academics, interpersonal relationships and friends. To do this, you should stop yourself from being a parent all the time and become friends with your teen. Remember, parent-teen communication can eliminate the barriers between a father and son and make the relation more friendly. But the advice you give to your child must be relevant and shall not be useless. Take your teenager to a park or some coffee joint to break the barriers in communication that your teen may face.
Keep a track of yourself
Most of the teenagers who commit suicides tend to leave their parents arguing and angry. So, you must take care of yourself and your family. Make sure that you display your affection towards your spouse or your partner, who can help you in every possible ways. Several teenagers die because all their family members have their relationships hitting the hard rock. Hence, try to note if there are any incidences in present or past that may give you the idea that your teenager might commit suicide. Also, note that if you take care of yourself and your own family well, then you can help a teen deal with the life crises s/he may be facing.
Listen and not just hear
Opening communication channels with your teenager will help her/him deal with the right crises. Intervention can be done for teenagers who might be contemplating about committing suicide. So, listen to your teenager, pay heed to what s/he has to say. Do this without being judgmental, because if you get judgmental, then you put obstacles in front of of your child. Re-assure your child that you love him and insure your child’s safety, especially if he has attempted it before. Enjoy outings and trips with your teenager and involve him into your activities so that you two can form a special bond.
Note the warning signs
Most of the teenagers who attempt or complete suicide, tend to send signals towards their family members and loved ones. But most of us tend to ignore those messages, resulting in increasing number of suicide attempts. Teenagers who want to commit suicide generally talk about suicide and discuss about it. Teens may provide warning signs such as talking about death and suicide, putting unusual focus on death, seeking out lethal weapons, showing feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Some of the teens might cut themselves off from others or increase social isolation and say goodbye to people. They may also indulge in self destructive behavior by driving fast, drinking alcohol or they may suddenly become very calm because of their decision to commit suicide. Such warning signs must be noted to ensure that the person doesn’t attempt suicide.
Talk to a suicidal person
If you have a close family member or a child who is displaying suicidal tendencies, then you must follow some tactics that you can use to help a suicidal person. Firstly, you must talk to the person about how you will also stay in her/his life forever. Listen to the suicidal person as they may carry out a negative conversation to ventilate their long held anger and their despair. While talking to a suicidal person, make sure that you are sympathetic and non judgmental. Offer hope and reassure this person that suicidal feeling are temporary and that you are always available for this individual. But make sure that when you are talking to a suicidal person, you must not argue with him or act shocked. While discussing these issues with the individual, you must swear confidentiality and maintain secrecy.
Note for psychological illnesses
Over 19 percent of teenagers think of committing suicide at one point or the other and half of them attempt it. While, the reason behind most of the teenage suicides is family problems, academics and peer pressures, some of teens may also try committing suicide because they suffer from a psychological illness. It must be noted that depression medications can cause an increase in suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Therefore, you must note whether the warning signs behind suicide are indication of stress or mental illness. Generally, teenagers with depression and bi-polar disorder have higher suicide rates. So, you must act accordingly. For instance, if your child apparently has a psychological illness, you must act fast and take her/him to a psychiatrist.
You can also involve your community to help you identify and deal with teenager suicide. For this, you and other individuals of your colony must come together and form a community, which provides 24X7 assistance to teenagers who may be thinking about committing suicide.
Your community can form a helpline assistance, where these teenagers can call and discuss their issues, without making their identity public. The community can collaborate with a hospital that can provide them medical professionals who can help these teenagers to deal with their family crises.
How you can help
Getting professional help for an individual who has suicidal tendencies must be your first step. So, call a crises line for advice or look out for treatment facility. Make sure that you follow up with the treatment so that the teen with suicidal tendency realizes that you will also be there for her/him. Encourage the teenager to adopt positive lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, good sleep, exercise and socialization. Remember, exercise will release endorphins, which can help relieve the stress of a teen. Make a safety plan for individuals with suicidal tendencies especially for situations like anniversary of a loss or breakups. Continue this support for a long time so that the teenager understands the importance of dealing with life crises and becomes stronger, both physically and mentally.