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Information Sheet on Suicide

10 Things You Need to Know About Suicide

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  1. Statistically speaking suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers, a close second to automobile accidents. Some experts feel that many car accidents are actually suicides and that the rates are so close that suicide may actually be the leading cause of death in teens.
  2. The reasons why suicide is so prevalent among teens is still a mystery but experts do have some ideas as to why teenagers are at a greater risk. The three most common factors considered to account for the high suicide rate among teens are; an immortality complex in which teens don't appear to grasp the finality of death, reactive-immaturity in which the psyche is thought to not yet have developed enough maturity to control emmotional reactivity to negative or hurtful occurences, and broad hormonal fluctuations that can lead to irrational thought processes and bouts of depression.
  3. Peer pressure is at its most influential during the teen years and things like bullying and exclusion by peers can cause teens to see death as the only way out or as a way of gaining attention from peer groups that ignore them.
  4. Suicide threats should always be taken seriously. Even threats veiled as jokes can mask a sincere desire to harm oneself. Always seek help for a friend who threatens suicide or repeatedly jokes about killing themselves.
  5. There is no such thing as a failed suicide attempt, these are really desperate cries for help. Often people think that somebody who tries to commit suicide but survives is only seeking attention but in reality suicide survivors are 12x more likely to eventually die from suicide than teens who threaten suicide but do not ever act on the threat. People who have attempted suicide and survived are at a high risk to eventually take their own life.
  6. While clinical depression is common among suicidal people of all ages it is less common in teens. Suicidal teens are more likely to be reacting to social and environmental pressures when they become suicidal than they are to be suffering from a true mental illness. For this reason suicide is often harder for experts to predict in teens.
  7. Anti-social behaviors are not good indicators of suicide risk as once thought. Suicide is equally common among popular kids as it is among unpopular kids.
  8. Movies, music, books and web sites do not lead to suicide. Often these media get blamed when a suicide occurs because certain types of music or web sites are found among the deceased possessions. In reality suicial people tend to seek these things out rather than be led astray by them. A sudden and extreme interest in these things can be a pre-cursor to a suicide attempt.
  9. Suicide clusters, multiple suicides within a closed community or peer group, often occur and are not fully understood by experts. When a suicide occurs at your school or in your community it is wise to seek help for friends who have threatened suicide or attempted suicide in the past as cluster victims are not always known to one another.
  10. Suicide pacts are a youth phenomenon and are almost non-existant in other age groups. Experts feel that peer pressure may be in part to blame since it is at its most influential during the teen years. If a friend ever pressures you to commit suicide or to aid them in their attempt seek help immediately.

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Mike Hardcastle
About.com Teen Advice

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