September is Suicide Awareness Month, albeit nearly over I have been waiting for the right time to sneak this topic in. With teen suicide on the rise and higher than ever before, it’s even more important to spread awareness to parents, and for kids and parents to have easy access to available resources.
I’ll preface this by saying I’m not an expert in adolescent mental health, my primary goal is to spread awareness. I have made some observances through the years as a nurse. There are some common themes that seem to surface repeatedly when teens and young adults are admitted for suicidal ideation or attempt of suicide.
In no particular order I have listed some flags I have observed both through work and through people I know personally.
Reports of being bullied, or feeling like an outsider, lack of social connection.
Substance abuse, self medicating, generally with illicit drugs or unprescribed medication.
Abuse in the home or exposure to trauma.
Feelings of intense pressure, high expectations that feel unattainable.
Stressful family circumstances, divorce, absent parent, hostile parental relationships.
Falling grades, lack of motivation and energy, changes in eating habits.
Personal or family history of mental health illness.
For parents and family members, take pause and listen. Ask more questions. Often kids try to communicate to parents, but not they are not always offering up full details. They ask for help, or support but not always in the most direct way.
Mental illness, is illness, just as any other medical condition is. Please seek medical help if you’re having suicidal thoughts or ideation. Let us all take care of ourselves, and our brains just as we would any other part of our body. Spread awareness now, and help someone else, another child, another teen!
Suicide Prevention Line phone: 1-800-273-8255