Helping Youths Cope With Suicidal Thoughts
Suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation means thinking about committing suicide. People experience this when they are undergoing a difficult time and unable to cope with an overwhelming situation. Some may at one point or another perceive death, as a permanent answer to problems that might be temporary. This feeling can affect anyone at any age or gender. Suicidal ideation could be difficult to spot in youths because they are good at masking their feelings; they look young, happy and appear to have a promising life. However, when a young person says he feels like killing himself sometimes his friends don’t take him seriously but laugh it away. The self-doubts, confusion, and pressures to succeed or conform can come at a high price for troubled adolescents.
If faced with this situation although you cannot predict outcomes, it is advisable to inform those in authority like the teacher, parent, doctor or guardian to provide help, support and reduce the risk of suicide.
In England and Wales, the number of teenage suicides increased by 67 per cent between 2010 and 2017. There were 177 suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2017, compared with 110 in 2010 and more than in every year since then except 2015, when the toll was 186, the Office of National Statistics data shows. Sadly, studies have linked social media to increasing anxiety and depression among teenagers. Many troubling and stressful situations can make a teen consider suicide. Factors that can increase the risk of suicide among teens include; A psychological disorder, pressure, depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol, bullying, drug use, feelings of distress, irritability, agitation.
The following are some warning signs of suicidal ideation:
* Talking about death, suicide or self-harm.
* A change in personality or behaviour
* lack of concentration
* Changes in school performance.
* Talking about feeling worthless, helpless, powerless or hopeless.
* Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia and hypersomnia.
* A change in eating habits, including appetite loss and overeating.
* Feeling intolerable emotional pain
* Having mood swings.
* Having risky or self-destructive behaviour
* Isolation from peers and family feeling like a burden to others.
* Giving away possessions.
* Expressing feelings of overwhelming shame and guilt.
* Making statements that others don’t care.
There are also some risk factors that put youth at an increased risk level for suicidal ideation:
* Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders
* Substance abuse
* History of sexual or physical abuse
* Low self-esteem
* Academic struggles
* Teens lacking social and family support
* Lack of financial aid
* A family history of suicide.
The teen years are an anxious and unsettling period as boys and girls face challenges of transition into adulthood. It is a period in life that is often confusing, leaving teens feeling isolated from family or peers. I believe all teenagers face similar fears, concerns and pressures and by associating with other youths, it helps them realise they are not alone. Suicidal thoughts are common neither are they permanent and things do get better. Teens should aim to be proactive as friends can help you realise you share a lot in common whereby giving you the motivation to live.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of committing suicide, inform the right authorities at school and encourage the person to see a mental health professional, a doctor or therapist. You can also get help from charities as well.