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Dramatic Increase in Teen Suicide

CDC Reports Largest Spike in Teen Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Signs Not Always Obvious continued...

A brief psychological intervention may be all teens need if they have a responsive and intact family, good relationships with their peers, hope for the future, and a desire to resolve conflicts.

Hospitalization and long-term psychiatric care may be needed for teens who:

  • Have made previous suicide attempts
  • Show a strong intent to commit suicide
  • Have serious depression or other major psychiatric disorders
  • Abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Have low impulse control

If a teen has made a suicide attempt, it's crucial to keep up continuous psychological care after hospital discharge. It's important to continue treatment of underlying psychiatric illnesses, to remove firearms from the home, and to lock up potentially lethal medications. Getting the teen to agree to a "no suicide" contract has not been proven effective.

"Suicide risk can only be reduced, not eliminated," Shain and colleagues warn. "Risk factors can provide no more than guidance."

The national suicide hotline -- 800-273-TALK -- connects callers to one of 120 local suicide crisis centers.

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