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Teen Suicide: Facts, Myths, and Prevention

...and what you can do to help someone in crisis. *Sources: CDC.gov and NAMI.org

Jamie A. Cutter, M.Ed.

on 27 February 2018

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Transcript of Teen Suicide: Facts, Myths, and Prevention

Teen Suicide: Facts, Myths, and Prevention
Myths vs. Facts
Warning Signs
Talking about dying
-- any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm
Recent loss
-- through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem
Change in personality
-- sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
Change in behavior
-- can't concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
Change in sleep patterns
-- insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
Change in eating habits
-- loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
Fear of losing control
- acting erratically, harming self or others
Low self esteem
-- feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, "everyone would be better off without me"
No hope for the future
-- believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change
Getting Help
If you are considering suicide, tell someone you trust!
Suicide Is...
the 3rd leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24

something 1 in 5 teens seriously consider

usually connected with mental illness and/or substance abuse


What Can You Do?
Educate yourself
about mental illness and suicide warning signs.
reduce the stigma
of mental illness: avoid hate speech (crazy, psycho, nutcase, etc)
Be direct
. Talk openly and factually about suicide.
Be willing to
. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong.
Get involved
. Become available. Show interest and support.
Don't dare them
to do it or try to make them prove they are serious.
Don't act shocked.

Don't be sworn to secrecy
. Seek support!
Offer hope
that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
Take action
. Remove means such as guns or stockpiled pills.
CALL 911
if you think someone is having a mental health crisis or is attempting suicide. Ask for a CIT (crisis intervention team) response.
Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention!!!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
NAMI Help Line: (831) 427-8020 (this is a message machine where calls will be returned within 24 hours)
Family Service Agency of the Central Coast 24/7 Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 831-458-5300 in Santa Cruz County or toll free at 877-663-5433.
Mobile Crisis Unit: (800) 952-2335
The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth: Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386 and http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Suicide always occurs without any warning signs.
FACT: Nearly all people who die from suicide have a diagnosable mental illness that can be treated. The feelings that cause suicidal thoughts and actions can be treated.
If you ask a child or adolescent about suicidal thoughts, you might put an idea into their heads, so you should not ask.
FACT: Research shows that talking to someone who may be suicidal is one of the best ways to help them.
Media coverage about suicide attempts or completed suicides does not impact suicidal behavior in youth.
FACT: There is an increase in suicide by readers/ viewers when the number of stories about individual suicides increases.
Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.
FACT: Interventions that have been shown to be beneficial include physician education, means restriction, and gatekeeper education.
your advisor
your bff
your doctor
your therapist
your partner
school counselor
Mental Health 101:
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a mental health condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life.
1 in 5 youth and 1 in 4 adults have a diagnosable mental illness
Examples of mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia and bulimia
All mental illnesses exist on a spectrum: people with the same diagnosis may experience a wide range of symptoms and outcomes
Mental illnesses are not curable but can be treated, usually with a combination of therapy and medications
The exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, although research shows that many are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
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