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Teen Facts


The Begining | A few short stories | Stories on the web | Teen Facts | Help Lines | "QUOTES"and A few more facts... | extra

Heres a few facts to think about.

Signs ...



Although a single traumatic event like the breakup of a relationship or being cut from the team can trigger an unexpected suicide, teens almost always send out signals, such as:

talking or joking about suicide
increased and/or heavy use of alcohol and other drugs
making preparations for death such as giving away prized possessions
reckless risk taking

exhibiting sudden changes in school or social behaviour and attitudes such as
abrupt changes in attendance
sudden decline in academic performance
inability to concentrate
sudden failure to complete assignments
lack of interest/withdrawal
changed relationship with classmates
increased irritability or aggressiveness
wide mood swings, unexpected displays of emotion
despairing attitude
preoccupation with death and suicide (eg. writing about it, drawing pictures of people committing suicide or dead)
a party animal becomes withdrawn or vice versa
disturbed sleep, loss of appetite
loss of interest in previously important relationships
appearance and personal care change suddenly

How To Help


The single most common complaint by teens about adults is that they don't listen. Interested questions may be needed to help them open up, but as adults we're too prone to giving advice, making judgments and solving problems for them. What they really need and want are people who will just listen.

When you initiate a conversation with a teen by asking them what's wrong, you'll often be met with a shrug and a muttered, Nothing. Do not give up at this point. Teens often need to be convinced that someone really cares before they'll open up and talk about their feelings.

When they do, don't offer solutions or tell them how much better they have it than someone else, just listen. This delivers two critical messages:

1) I take your problems seriously.
2) I care enough about you to want to help.

Listen for the feelings behind the words and be alert for phrases like:

I'd rather die than....
or I can't take it anymore
or Everyone would be better off if I weren't here.

Get Help

Do not ever agree to keep someone's suicidal intentions a secret. Find out who or what they fear and attempt to agree on who can be trusted with this information, but do not wait to notify the appropriate individuals. Better to anger someone by revealing their secret, than to see them dead because you didn't tell someone who could help them.

If, based on your evaluation of the risk (lethal means + availability of means + time frame) the person is in imminent danger of attempting suicide, do not leave them alone. Stay with them until help arrives.

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