A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shook us up here at BeingGirl.com. For reasons federal health officials can't yet explain, after years of falling dramatically, teenage suicide rates have shot up disturbingly. Whether it's a blip or a trend, these numbers made us want to answer any questions you might have about these alarming statistics on teenage suicides.
Why do the experts think this is happening now with teenage suicides?
You could probably tell them. The teenage years have always been a time of turbulence and transition, but the whole compare/compete equation is out of control. As much as we would like to place the blame for these teenage suicides on a single source so we can fix it, we can't. Never before has there been so much pressure to succeed. The college race is harder and more uncertain than ever. As the pressures are exploding, so have anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and self-injurious behaviors. The so-called mean girl syndrome is rampant. Divorce, absentee parents, familial conflict, low self-esteem, earlier pressure for sexual activity, and body image issues...it's no wonder it's so hard to see yourself as good enough. And worthy of the life you deserve.
What should I do if I have friends who talk about teenage suicides? I don't really think they'd do anything, and I don't want to betray their trust.
You must realize this is a problem that is way too big for you to handle on your own. You need to tell their parents and the school guidance counselor. Yes, they will probably be mad at you...but the alternative is so horrifying, their anger is a small price to pay.
Any talk about teenage suicides must be taken seriously. Luckily, your friend decided holding in her pain is not working and opening up to you is relieving some of the pressure. Act fast. Years ago, the experts advised making sure the environment was pills and weapons free. Today though, with hanging and suffocation being the most common ways of committing teenage suicide, everyone's responsibility has increased. Depression can run in families, so keep that in mind. Girls who commit suicide have a psychiatric condition, even if it hasn't been formally diagnosed. Studies show there is an average of seven years between the onset of this condition and the actual act, giving you a real chance to help.
Do all teenagers who think about suicide really want to die?
Most girls who attempt suicide do not really want to end their lives. Most want to escape psychological pain or unbearable circumstances. Some seek attention; others want to communicate their anger or love in the most dramatic way they can think of. They feel hopeless, act impulsively and suffer for their poor problem-solving and social skills.
Are there any reliable sources where I can look up more information on teenage suicides?
Yes! If you need to talk with someone and get help immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
If someone you know is self injuring, go to selfinjury.com.
If you think you might be depressed, go to depression-screening.org.