Sadly, it’s time to talk about teen suicide again.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in our young people 15-24; approximately 4,000 Americans in this age group died of their own actions last year and a much greater number suffered a range of consequences from suicide attempts.
More than 32,000 Americans of all ages died from suicide last year, making it the 10th or 11th cause of death. While depression is the leading risk factor for suicide, other leading risk factors in the 15-24 year old group include bullying, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, parental emotional distance or criticism, parental pressure, and parental divorce.
It affects all of us in some way, even if it’s not yet a known problem in your inner circles. I ask each of you to think about someone you know who took their own life, speak their name in remembrance, and reach out to someone who may be at risk.
Parents: if you haven’t yet had a candid conversation with your 15-24 year olds about how there’s nothing worth taking your own life over and how you are always there for help or guidance no matter what, then it’s time. And if your child has untreated or under treated depression, eating disorders or substance abuse issues, it’s time to resolve that.
And for any one who may be feeling like life’s troubles are just too much, or that you have no one to turn to, take a look around. Think about your family, friends, people at school or work and find someone you can tell how you are feeling. It may seem like you don’t have resources, but there people who care about you. And thanks to the Internet there are now options to be connected to people who aren’t part of your everyday life. There are more people than you know who would love to help you.