Suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death for young people in many nations today. And youth suicide rates in Australia are higher than in many other countries. It is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 years in Australia. Seriously depressed teens speak of, and often think about or make attempts at suicide. Shocking statistics shows that an alarming and increasing number are successful.
Death by suicide is one of the most tragic ways for a young life to end. It is particularly distressing for friends and relatives of that young person to heal and recover from the tragic event. But remember, most suicide is preventable.
Research shows that for young people, for every one suicide there are approximately 100 to 200 suicide attempts. Four out of five teens who attempt suicide give clear warning signs. It is important to take any suicidal thoughts or behaviours very seriously. They are your teen’s cry for help. After recognising and taking the warning signs seriously, talk to the young person about what’s going on, and help them seek professional support. Because if not addressed, the teen may feel they are left only with suicide as a final option out of their situation.
Some teenagers may show some of the clues to depression, but often it is not so obvious. It may be hard to distinguish these warning symptoms from the ‘ups-and-downs’ which are a part of most teenagers’ lives. Pay close attention to whether the teen is showing changes in school, at home or with friends and family.
Teen suicide warning signs to watch for:
- Hygiene or general appearance changes in shocking ways.
- Displaying extreme mood swings, withdrawing, acting anxious, agitated, or reckless.
- They write stories/poems/songs about death, dying, or suicide.
- Actively seek out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves.
- Talking or joking about wanting to die or committing suicide.
- Talk about feeling hopeless or trapped.
- Talk about having no purpose or being a burden to others.
- There’s an increasing use of alcohol or drugs.
- Sleeping too little/too much.
- Making statements like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever” or “There’s no way out”.
- Romanticizing dying by saying “People might love me more if I died”.
- Giving away their prized possessions for no valid reasons.
- Saying goodbye to their friends and family as if for the last time.
How to help a suicidal adolescent
– Helping a suicidal young person is an emergency. Never be reluctant/hesitant to get involved and get them professional help immediately. Do whatever you can to help your teen reconnect.
– Often just knowing that someone cares is enough to let them unburden their problems, and may help prevent tragedy. Talking gently and supportively will let your teen know that you are there for them and are not afraid to face their feelings together.
– Allow the teen to express their feelings. Give them your time and listen with interest. They require your patience and understanding. Even if you feel terrified and distressed to hear about their feelings, be non-judgmental.
– Make sure there is no access to lethal means or dangerous items. Taking steps to ensure their safety should be the top priority.
– Consult your doctor, seek help from a health support group or phone one of the local/national helplines. However, if you believe the teen is in imminent danger, take them to your healthcare professional or emergency room immediately. If you know of a young person who may seem suicidal, you should inform the person’s parents, guardians or school counselor so they can act immediately to ensure his or her safety.
After a tragic event like a suicide, cleaning up is often traumatic and overwhelming for loved ones and friends. It could also be dangerous to your health as bodily fluids left behind may contain bloodborne pathogens. It is recommended that you call for a professional suicide cleanup service of a cleaning company like Bio Cleanse Services instead of cleaning up a suicide scene yourself.
We offer 24-hour emergency service for suicide cleanup in Sydney, Goulburn, Batemans Bay, Canberra & surrounding areas of NSW. Give us a call on 1300 774 631.