Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life and continues to be a serious problem among young people. Some youth may experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up.  These can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. For some, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth 15 – 24 (12.3%) in the U.S. In Maryland, between 1990 – 2006, there were 1,219 completed suicides among 10 – 24 year olds.  And, for every completed suicide by a youth, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made. However, building strong family relationships, having the knowledge of the risks and warning signs of suicide/depression, and having access to prevention and intervention resources will often decrease the likelihood of suicide in youth.

Warning signs include:

  • Depressed mood, ADHD or other mental health problem
  • Family loss or instability, significant problems with parent/s
  • Expressions of suicidal thoughts, or talk of death or the afterlife during moments of sadness or boredom
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Difficulties in dealing with sexual orientation
  • Poor ability to manage one’s negative emotions
  • No longer interested in or enjoying activities that once were pleasurable
  • Impulsive, aggressive behavior, frequent expressions of rage
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Engaging in high risk behaviors (e.g., fire-setting, involvement in cults/gangs, cruelty to animals)
  • Social isolation and poor self-esteem
  • Witnessing or being exposed to family violence or abuse
  • Having  relative who completed or attempted suicide
  • Being preoccupied with themes and acts of violence on TV shows, movies, music, magazines, comic books, video games and internet sites
  • Giving away meaningful belongings
  • Frequent episodes of running away or being incarcerated

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