Teens, Parents Underestimate Teen Suicide Risk
Study Shows Parents and Teens Believe Suicide Isn't a Problem in Their Communities
WebMD News Archive
Screening for Suicide Risk
Schwartz says pediatricians can help by regularly screening older children
and teens for depression and other psychological stresses that could put them
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends asking adolescent
patients about mood disorders, suicidal thoughts, and other risk factors
including sexual orientation.
Gay and bisexual teens are especially at risk, with one survey reporting
suicide attempts among 28% of gay and bisexual teenage boys and 20% of gay and
bisexual teenage girls.
According to the AAP, signs that a depressed teenager might be suicidal
- A dramatic change in personality
- Relationship problems, especially with a romantic partner
- A drop in grades or quality of schoolwork
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- A change in eating or sleeping habits
- Having trouble concentrating
- Giving away prized possessions
- Writing notes or poems about death
- Talking about suicide, even jokingly
If you suspect teenagers might be thinking about suicide, the AAP
- Act quickly. Suicide is preventable, but quick action is
- Ask about it, and don't be afraid to say the word "suicide." Using the word
may help at-risk teenagers understand that someone has heard their cries for
- Reassure teenagers that you love them, and make sure they know that no
matter how bad the problems seem, they can be worked out.
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings, and listen carefully. Don't
dismiss the problem or get angry.
- Remove all lethal weapons from your home, including guns, pills, kitchen
utensils, and ropes.
- Seek professional help. Ask your teenager's pediatrician for guidance.