The Dangers of Teenage Suicide


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From test scores to grades to applying to college, teenagers have higher levels of school-related tension. Stress such as this can be one significant reason for mental health decline. Teenage years are prevalent with growing pains and hormonal surges, which depending on the child can be very stressful. The burden of maintaining academics and sports, learning disabilities, peer pressure, problems at school, bullying, death or loss of a loved one, divorce of parents, and also corrupted or abusive home atmosphere can also cause an immense amount of stress in teenagers lives.

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Teens turning to drug and alcohol abuse is something that can be seen as common these days, the amount of work put on their shoulders can easily guide them to substance abuse or even suicide. Stressful events such as anxiety-inducing events, peer influence, and the failure of parents to keep their children away from harmful activities can affect their mental health. Drugs have a more extreme result on children and teenagers because the brain continuously develops until age 25. The brain develops unequally, the parts in charge of coordination, motivation, and emotion develop considerably more quickly than the parts that are in charge of impulse and reasoning.

Now, you’re probably wondering if my child at risk? It all really depends on your personal situation. If you want to look for clues it’s best to look for things such as denial, anger, and guilt. The more obvious signs are skipping school, dropping grades, lack of motivation or interest, neglecting personal appearances, running away from home, risk-taking behavior, change in behavior, etc. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it might be time for you to do something about it for your and your child’s sake.

The National Survey of Drug Use and Health provided a sample of 2,095 teenagers’ ages varied from 12 to 17 years old, who could have possibly injected drugs regardless of whether they really abused drugs. The participants were asked questions such as topics as suicidal thoughts, 82% of teens confessed to having suicidal thoughts, 40% had a suicide plan and 45% already have made a suicide attempt in the past. But, 62% of those teenagers’ who injected drugs had made a suicide attempt. The rate of suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans, and suicidal attempts is very high among teens who are depressed and among teens who are abusing a substance.

You as a parent/caregiver need to have a sophisticated conversation with them. There are many ways to approach this situation, if you want to try and help, be aware of your tone of voice and word choice. Drugs and other sensitive topics can escalate into arguments very quickly if you aren’t patient with them. Acknowledge your child’s opinions, keep in mind that most people who use drugs are afraid and ashamed which could lead to them not telling the truth right away. You can only help them so much with just actions and conversations, asking for help from professionals is the most important step for recovery.

You can start by making an appointment with your child’s doctor who can screen for signs of drug and alcohol use. Eventually, you can approach the doctor and ask about treatment. It takes a lot of courage for you and your child to ask for help. There is a lot of hard work waiting ahead for both of you, unfortunately, situations such as these interrupt academic and personal milestones expected during the time of their recovery. Although there is an abundance of setbacks in your way, treatment works. It takes a lot of time and patience, but in the end, if successful they will regain control of their life and can achieve goals that they couldn’t before.

Do you want to know how to help your child? Pay attention. It can be that simple. Learn to look for signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and drug/alcohol abuse. Tend to your child’s needs and don’t ever doubt your gut when having a conversation with them, looking at their grades, or how they’re acting towards you or others. Situations like these can come on faster than you think. It can be a very worrying and dreadful situation but don’t ignore your child, degrade them or belittle their situation no matter what they’re going through. If it’s important to them, it should be important to you too. Pay attention. 

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