Preventing teen suicide
Hazelden provides evidence-based, comprehensive resources for schools that address the topic of teen suicide prevention
Teenagers experience intense feelings of self-doubt, peer-pressure, stress, pressure to succeed, and other fears. For some, additional stresses such as divorce, moving, or combined families can intensify their feelings of self-doubt.
The statistics about youth suicide are disturbing:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year olds
- It is the second leading cause of death in college students
- There are 50-200 suicide attempts for every completion
- Almost 7% of high school students report making a suicide attempt
- Over 14% of high school students report suicidal thoughts
- Suicide is often linked with drug and alcohol use
According to the Hazelden publication LifeLines, clinical studies have shown:
- The vast majority of youth who died by suicide had significant psychiatric problems, including depression, conduct disorders, and substance abuse problems
- Between one-quarter to one-third had a prior attempt.
- A family history of suicide greatly increased the risk
- Stressful life events such as interpersonal losses, legal or disciplinary crises, or changes for which the teen felt unprepared to cope
The LifeLines program organizes the warning signs of suicide by use of the acronym FACTS, which stands for feelings, actions, changes, threats, and situations.
- Hopelessness--feeling like things are bad and won't get any better
- Fear of losing control, going crazy, harming oneself or others
- Helplessness--a belief that there's nothing that can make life better
- Worthlessness--feeling useless and of no value
- Self-hate, guilt, or shame
- Extreme sadness or loneliness
- Anxiety or worry
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Talking or writing about death or destruction
- Personality--behaving like a different person, becoming withdrawn, feeling tired all the time, not caring about anything, or becoming more talkative or
- Behavior--inability to concentrate
- Sleeping pattern--sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep
- Eating habits--loss of appetite and/or overeating
- Losing interest in friends, hobbies, personal appearance
- Sudden improvement after a period of being down or withdrawn
- Statements like "How long does it take to bleed to death?"
- Threats like "I won't be around much longer" or "You'd be better off without me"
- Making plans, such as studying about ways to die or obtaining the means to self-inflict injury or death
- Suicide attempts
- Getting into trouble at school, at home, or with the law
- Recent losses
- Changes in life that feel overwhelming
- Being exposed to suicide or the death of a peer under any circumstances
Hazelden is dedicated to helping young people live healthy lives. We provide evidence-based resources that address the important issues that teen face everyday, including teen suicide, alcohol and drug use, bullying, and dating violence. To see a complete listing of all the materials Hazelden offers addressing the topic of suicide, please visit our online bookstore.