What are the Warning Signs of Teen Suicide?

Dan Cavallari

Suicide is an alarmingly common occurrence among teenagers, and it is important to recognize the warning signs of teen suicide. Often, concerned parents or other parties are afraid to confront the teen, but it is important to both recognize and act upon the warning signs of teen suicide, as many teens are simply looking for someone to notice their problems and help them through the issues. If a teen is becoming detached from friends and family, engaging in self-destructive behavior, or becoming extremely moody, depressed, or quiet and detached, he or she may be exhibiting symptoms of impending teen suicide.

Taking little interest in activities may be a warning sign of teen suicide.
Taking little interest in activities may be a warning sign of teen suicide.

In many cases, however, there are no warning signs preceding a teen suicide. These difficult situations often leave the parent or other concerned party feeling guilty, which is, of course, natural. This stresses the importance of acting immediately when warning signs are prevalent. If a teen suddenly changes his or her appearance, takes little or no interest in activities that they previously engaged in regularly and with enthusiasm, or disengages with close friends, one should recognize these behaviors as possible signs of teen suicide. Even if these signs are debunked later on, it is important to act upon the signs because it allows the concerned party an opportunity to engage with the troubled teen and become closer to him or her.

Divorce can cause a teen to become withdrawn and depressed.
Divorce can cause a teen to become withdrawn and depressed.

Teen suicide is sometimes brought on by a traumatic situation in the teen's life. Divorce, relationship difficulties, a death in the family, abuse, and other traumatic issues can lead a teen to become depressed, withdrawn, isolated, or afraid. Such attitudes can lead to more severe issues, and eventually to suicide. If such a traumatic situation has taken place in a teen's life, it is important to engage that teen in discussion of the event to prevent feelings of isolation or despair.

Sudden behavioral problems may be a sign of teen suicide.
Sudden behavioral problems may be a sign of teen suicide.

Sometimes a teen will begin vocalizing a desire to die, or become obsessed with the idea of death. This is, again, a sign of possible suicidal thoughts. The teen may begin giving away his or her belongings, taking unnecessary risks — such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or exhibiting dangerous behaviors such as self-mutilation — or giving other outward signs of a troubled mind. Some teens, however, will exhibit none of these characteristics. In fact, they may become excessively happy after a long bout of depression, which may indicate he or she has decided suicide is a solution to his or her problem. If such mood swings occur, it can be indicative or suicidal thoughts or other issues detrimental to the teen.

Troubled teens often have problems communicating with their parents.
Troubled teens often have problems communicating with their parents.
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking alcohol, is often a warning sign for suicide.
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking alcohol, is often a warning sign for suicide.
A teen who becomes detached and quiet might be at risk of suicide.
A teen who becomes detached and quiet might be at risk of suicide.
Teens are more at risk for suicide if they are unhappy with their physical appearance.
Teens are more at risk for suicide if they are unhappy with their physical appearance.
Teen suicide is sometimes triggered by divorce.
Teen suicide is sometimes triggered by divorce.

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