Monday, July 5, 2010

Suicide in Youth: Important information for Everyone

Each year in the U.S approximately 2 million U.S adolescents attempt suicide and 700,000 receive medical attention for their attempt (AACAP, 2001). It is estimated that each year in the U.S, approximately 2,000 youth ages 10-19 complete suicide. In 2000, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24 years of age following unintentional injuries and homicide (CDC).

What leads to suicide in children and adolescents?
-Life stressors
-Problems in relationship with parents
-Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
-History of physical or sexual abuse
-Parents' mental illness
-Family history of suicide
-Prior suicide attempt
-Substance abuse disorders
-Mental illness
-Easy access to lethal methods, especially guns

Warning signs of suicide behavior
-Current or recent suicidal thoughts or attempt.
-Changes in eating or sleeping habits
-Violent actions or running away
-Drug or alcohol use
-Unusual neglect of personal appearance
-Marked personality change
-Difficulty concentration
-Decline in quality of schoolwork
-Frequent complains of physical symptoms like stomachaches, headaches and fatigue
-Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
-Not tolerating praise and rewards

How you can help:
-Take every suicidal threat seriously. Take the youth to the closest emergency room for a physican evaluation. If the youth refuses to go, call 911 and a police officer will screen the youth and transport to the emergency room.
-Seek counseling for the youth. Call us at Central Florida Mental Health Associates at 386.624.5501 for a free phone consultation. You can also visit our website at

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