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Suicide Is Not Painless

There is only one nightmare more frightening to a parent than that one of their children might die.  That is the possibility that he might die at his own hand.  As the teen years take hold, our fear increases.  We watch mood swings and wonder, "Is he just having a bad day, or is it something more?" Unfortunately, parents have good reasons to be concerned.  Suicide is, after all, the third leading cause of death among older teens and young adults, surpassed only by accident and homicide.

The following are serious causes for concern, and should be investigated immediately:

  • Refusing to accept rewards or compliments and complaining that he feels that he is a bad person.
  • Making comments like, "I won't be around much longer."
  • "Putting his affairs in order," such as giving away meaningful possessions.
  • Suddenly cheering up after a long bout of depression.
  • Having bizarre thoughts or hallucinations.
  • Taking unusual risks.
  • Saying "I want to kill myself." or practicing writing suicide notes.

So, what should you do if you feel your teen may be suicidal or in a deep depression?  The first step is to do all you can to provide him with a safe and secure home environment.  Let him know that you and the rest of his family care about him and want to help him through his pain.  At the same time, remove anything from you home or anywhere else your teen frequents that he might use to hurt himself. 

Take time to talk to your teen about his feelings, and ask him point blank if he ever thinks about harming himself.  Then use his answer to gauge your next move, whether it be increased in-home vigilance, professional outpatient treatment, suicide hotlines, or immediate hospitalization.  It is always better to ere on the side of caution since there is no recovering from death.

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

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