Suicide is one of the top 3 causes of death among 15 to 24 year olds; only accidents and homicide occur more
(2006, National Adolescent Health Information)
Approximately 14 young people between the ages of 15-24 die every day by suicide.
For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made
(2003, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey)
Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method amongst youth regardless of race or gender. Research has shown that access to firearms is a significant factor in the increase of youth suicide. (American Association of Suicidology, 2004)
Up to 60% of high school student’s report having suicidal ideation
Not all adolescent attempters may admit to their intent. Therefore any deliberate, self harming behaviors should be considered serious and in need of further evaluation.
Retrospective studies of suicide victims show that more than 90% of people who committed suicide had an addictive or mental disorder (for example, depression or manic-depressive illness). Very often these disorders were not recognized before the suicide. A large proportion have more than one of these disorders. (Epidemiology of Suicidal Behavior, in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 1995; 25(1):22-35)
Suicide Rates* Among Persons Ages 10-24 Years, by Race/Ethnicity and Sex, United States, 2002-2006
During 2002-2006, the highest suicide rates for those ages 10-24 years were among the American Indian/Alaskan Natives with 27.72 and 8.50 suicides per 100,000 in males and females, respectively.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Talk of Suicide
is a cry for help!
Classic or Common Warning Signs
Talking, joking, or a note indicating a desire to die Composition or artwork involving death Previous suicide attempt(s) Statement of hopelessness or helplessness Expression of negative attitudes toward self Expression of a lack of future orientation Withdrawal from families or social network Giving away of possessions to friends or families When they know, respect, or idealize someone who has
attempted suicide or committed suicide Anniversary of a tragic event
Changes Weight—gain/loss Sleep—too much/too little Physical Appearance (Neglected/Disheveled) Irritability Personality Changes Lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities Unexplained decline in academic performance Increased absenteeism Increased behavioral issues or issues with teacher Impulsive/Risky/Reckless behavior Wide mood swings, unexpected displays of emotion Sudden sense of calm or happiness after a period of sadness or
Social & Family System Changes
Family problems/familial suicide Change in family’s financial or social status Parental divorce Change in the child’s role in the family Losing a close friend Break up with boyfriend or girlfriend Change to a new school
On Going Issues of Concern
Chronic health problems Frequent complaints Self inflicted injuries such as burns, scratches, cuts History of emotional/sexual/physical abuse Psychiatric depression Substance Abuse Poor coping strategies overall A tendency toward isolation and social withdrawal
Indirect Verbal Cues
“I can’t go any longer” “I’m tired of life” “I can't take the pain” “You’re going to regret how you treated me” “You are better off without me” “Pretty soon none of this will matter”
Direct Verbal Cues
“I’m going to kill myself” “I wish I was dead” “If..doesn’t happen, I am going to end it” “I’m going to commit suicide”
What can Parents & Educators do?
Do’s Listen Remain calm Accept the person’s feelings as they are Accept their feelings Explore resources Do not be afraid to talk about suicide directly Ask them if they have developed a plan for suicide Know the risk factors and warning signs of youth
suicide Take immediate action if the youth makes any
indication of potential self-harm Provide assessment and background information Express your concern for the person. Stay close & supervise student—
DO NOT LET CHILD LEAVE
Eliminate availability of means— No access to guns and other weapons, medications, sharp objects or other methods of
self-harm increases suicide risk, especially when mental health issues exist
Seek Professional Help Consult a physician or mental health professional immediately. Individuals contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may
have to do more. Help the person find a knowledgeable mental health professional or a reputable
treatment facility, and take them to the treatment. Take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital. If a psychiatric facility is unavailable, go to your nearest hospital or clinic. If the above options are unavailable, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Follow-up on Treatment Child may need your continuing support to pursue treatment after an initial contact. If medication is prescribed, make sure your friend or loved one is taking it exactly as
prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse.
Frequently the first medication doesn't work. It takes time and persistence to find the right medication(s) and therapist for the individual person.
What can Parents & Educators do?
Don’t sound shocked Don’t offer empty promises Don’t to cheer him/her up Don’t debate morality Don’t assure things will improve Don’t keep it a secret DO NOT LET STUDENT LEAVE
How can you know if it is serious?
S: Specificity of Plan
L: Lethality of Means
A: Availability of Means
P: Proximity to Other Means
5150 (Involuntary Psychiatric Hold)
Section 5150 is a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that allows a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person deemed (or feared) to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to him or her self, and/or others and/or gravely disabled.
WHAT THIS MEANS:
Your child may be kept safe & supervised for 72 hours to ensure that he/she does not hurt
1. P: (P.E.T.) Psychiatric Evaluation Team 714-834-6900 (for youth under 18 years of age) or (CAT) Centralized Assessment Team 1-866-830-6011 (for 18 and over):
2. P: Police (School Resource Officer and/or Local Police)
www.infolinkoc.org Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
www.yellowribbon.org American Association of Suicidology
www.suicidology.org American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
www.afsp.org National Association of School Psychologists www.nasponline.org Signs of Suicide SOS
www.mentalhealthscreening.org Centers for Disease Control
Thinking Long Term – Support your teen
Resiliency Factors The presence of resiliency factors can lessen the potential of
risk factors to lead to suicidal ideation and behaviors. Once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth. These include:
Family support and cohesion, including good communication. Peer support and close social networks. School and community connectedness. Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy
living. Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict-resolution. General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, sense of purpose. Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.