Suicide continues to be a serious problem, with over 40,000 people each year dying by suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults age 5-to-24-year-olds. Suicide does not discriminate, affecting people of all ages, genders and ethnicities.
Among younger children, suicide attempts are often impulsive. They may be associated with feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, or problems with attention and hyperactivity.
Among teenagers, suicide attempts may be associated with feelings of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, disappointment, and loss. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems.
Among adults, suicide attempts may be associated with depression, chronic pain, substance abuse, prior suicide attempt, chronic or terminal illness, family history of suicide, or exposure to violence.
- Pervasive sadness, emptiness, hopelessness
- Withdrawal from family, friends, activities
- Frequent physical complaints such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Feeling intense shame, guilt, loss of dignity; a “burden to others”
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Increased agitation, anxiety, rage
- Extreme mood swings, such as very sad to very calm or happy
Risk factors for all ages include:
- Family history of suicide attempts
- Exposure to violence
- Aggressive or disruptive behavior
- Access to firearms
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Acute loss or rejection
People often feel uncomfortable talking about suicide. However, asking your child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful.
Specific examples of such questions include:
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?
- Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?