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Tips For Parents To Prevent Suicide in Teens

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According to the World Health Organization, around 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which accounts to one person every 40 secs[1]. What is more surprising is the fact that suicides among young people is increasing at a very rapid rate. Moreover, studies have revealed that adolescents and young adults are at high risk of suicides because of the current lifestyle and the pressure. Not many people are aware that suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 15 years to 29 years[1]. 

What Parents Can Do To Prevent Suicide

It is during the teen years that it becomes difficult for parents to know what are the challenges faced by their kids. There are numerous changes that happen both physically and mentally as they grow. In some cases, they may find it hard to cope up with normal ups and downs in their life, be it in studies or with friends. They are at a high risk to easily fall into a trap and get affected the most, making them vulnerable for suicide. Here are some tips to help you be prepared and know about the condition in detail to prevent suicide.

1. Check out for subtle signs of anxiety of depression

It is quite common for every kid to have a bad day at school or college, but if he/she has been in the same mood from a couple of days or weeks, then it’s time to consult a doctor. Feeling sad or unhappy without any reason, loss of interest or pleasure, irritability, frustration or angry outbursts, crying for no reason, and disturbed sleep such as insomnia or excessive sleeping are some of the common signs of depression that everyone needs to be aware of. Remember that the diagnosis of depression plays a crucial role in the treatment of the condition. Know the symptoms, consult a doctor and get it treated.

2. Talk to your kid about his/her feelings

If you notice any changes in your kid’s behaviour or if you think that your child is going through depression, then do not let his feelings weigh him/her down. Take the initiative and talk to your teen about what is disturbing him/her. Discuss about the things that happen at school or at home to know what is bothering him/her. Do not wait for your children thinking they will come to you with their problems or concerns. Ask them if they want to talk about anything or do they need your help because this simple approach can make a huge difference. 

3. Do not neglect the threats of suicide as mere tantrums.

One of the common mistakes that most people do is neglect the threats of suicide, whether it is by a kid or an adult. But this is completely wrong as these threats could be the major signs of suicide and neglecting these can cost you your dear ones. Also, this attitude may not want your teen to share his feelings with you which could make the matter worse. Any written statement or verbal threats like “I want to die” or “I don’t want to live anymore” should be taken seriously. It is seen that in most cases where kids attempt suicide, they have been telling their parents about their intention to kill themselves but were ignored as typical teenage drama. 

4. Do not think twice to seek professional help

Although there has been a drastic change in the way we treat mental health specialists in the past few years but there still exists a taboo when it comes to going to a psychiatrist for help. Mental health experts  not only help in diagnosing the right mental health condition be it stress or depression but also provide you the right assistance and treatment to lead a better quality of life. Consulting a psychiatrist who specializes in child or youth care can provide counseling or start a therapy if you feel that your child is suicidal or is at risk of self-harm.

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5. Encourage your kid to be more social

It’s usually better to be around your near and dear ones than to be alone as it helps you to forget your worries and be happy. As kids prone to depression or those with suicidal thoughts prefer to stay alone, it is important to help them get out of the situation by encouraging them to play outdoors, take them shopping or to a nearby park, help them spend time with parents and family, etc. As you do so, try to let your teens know that everyone feels sad or depressed or anxious and it is okay as things will get better. Also, it is completely fine to let go things and not demand too much of themselves. The more they mingle with other kids, the more is the chance of being happy and confident. However, do not push your child over too much or if he/she says no.

Off late, we do hear a lot of news on suicides in kids and teens. Whatever is the cause of it, it is very crucial to be well aware about the signs that your kid is suicidal and act on them at the earliest to prevent the loss of a precious life. Spread the positivity by sharing this article with every parent you know. 

October 10th is observed as World Mental Health Day every year. The theme for 2019 is suicide prevention which aims to raise awareness about the increasing cases of suicide all across the globe and the role of each and every individual to prevent it. 

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

Recommended Reads:

World Suicide Prevention Day: Signs To Watch Out For!

7 Ways To Keep Kids Safe Online: Tips From Dr. Harish Shetty

References:

1. LIVE LIFE: Preventing suicide. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization. 

2. Suicide Prevention. American Academy of Pediatrics. Dedicated To The Health Of All Children. 

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