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Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's taken a while for me to put my thoughts together but I wanted to write about this as it's been on my mind. Last week a young man who I knew when he was younger passed away. This was the second very young man within the last year that took his own life. As I spoke to a few friends about this I learned of two others just in the last week that tried to take their lifes. I think when this type of thing happens it is human to wonder why this happens. What is going on that places this pressure on our young people? As I looked at some statistics I learned some things. Did you know Suicide is the #3 cause of death for 15-25 year olds? This number has tripled in the last 50 years. Typically a specific event triggers the occurance as the young people can't see beyond the event. Often many of those who commit suicide have an undiagnosed mental illness like a mood disorder or a eating disorder. Sometimes Social events cause a rise in suicide. Did you know the month after Princess Diana's funeral suicide rose 44%. Having a strong social group such as at church significantly decreases #'s.

So what can we do?
Look for warning signs
Warning Signs of Someone Considering Suicide

Any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean the person is suicidal, but several of these symptoms may signal a need for help:

• Verbal suicide threats such as, “You’d be better off without me.” or “Maybe I won’t be around.”

• Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness.

• Previous suicide attempts.

• Daring or risk-taking behavior.

• Personality changes.

• Depression.

• Giving away prized possessions.

• Lack of interest in future plans.

Remember: Eight out of ten suicidal persons give some sign of their intentions. People who talk about suicide, threaten to commit suicide, or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves.

What To Do If You Think Someone Is Suicidal

Trust your instincts that the person may be in trouble.

Talk with the person about your concerns. Communication needs to include LISTENING.

Ask direct questions without being judgmental. Determine if the person has a specific plan to carry out the suicide. The more detailed the plan, the greater the risk.

Get professional help, even if the person resists.

Do not leave the person alone.

Do not swear to secrecy.

Do not act shocked or judgmental.

Do not counsel the person yourself.

Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.

Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.

Pay attention to talk about suicide. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Silence is deadly!

Seek professional help. It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping depressed teens. Also, alert key adults in the teen’s life - family, friends and teacher.

I hope this doesn't sadden people, but I hope you read it and tuck it away in your mind somewhere and that the day you need it, it will be there for you and you can use it.

I pray that these young people are in a place where there is no more hurt and they have peace.

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