Suicide is ranked as the second leading cause of death for youth last year (American Foundation Suicide Prevention, 2016). For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (American Association of Suicidology)
What can be done to help prevent suicide? Here are some of the most common warning signs courtesy of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
- One of the most important things to watch out for is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves or being too much a burden to others
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
Get outside help if you notice any of these signs. If you believe a young person you care for is in crisis, call 911 immediately and stay with them while help is on the way. If you feel that you are at risk, and you want to talk to someone right away, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK). If you are concerned about your own well-being or that of a loved one, you can take an anonymous and confidential mental health screening online.
If texting is better, you can reach out via text message the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Center at 607-269-4500, Mondays through Fridays from 6 to 9 pm for free and confidential crisis counseling. No matter the emotional challenge, big or small, they will listen without judgment and help you or your child find your own best solution.