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Teen Suicide Warning Signs
Many warning signs and symptoms of teen suicide feelings are similar to those of depression. Parents should be aware of warning signs. If they see the signs, they should talk to the child about their concerns, and seek professional help. These signs include:
Change in eating and sleeping habits.
Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities.
Violent or rebellious behavior, or running away.
Drug and alcohol abuse.
Unusual neglect of personal appearance.
Radical personality change.
Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of school work.
Frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomach ache or headache, fatigue.
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
Not tolerating praise or rewards.
A teen who is planning suicide may also:
Complain of being "rotten inside."
Put affairs in order, give away favorite possessions, clean room, throw things away.
Become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression.
Give verbal hints with statements such as:
- "I won't be a problem for you much longer."
- "Nothing matters."
- "It's no use."
- "I won't see you again."
People often feel uncomfortable talking about death, but it can be helpful to ask the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed, or thinking of suicide. Such a question does not "plant the idea," but will provide assurance that someone cares, and will give the young person a chance to talk about his or her problem.
A small amount of prevention can go a long way. With support from family, friends, and professional treatment, those who consider suicide can be restored to a healthier path of development.
This information comes from the Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1986.
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