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In youth suicide, promoting overall mental health among adolescents is key to reducing possible suicidal thoughts. Some people argue that limiting young people's access to lethal weapons, such as firearms, may be a pivotal deterrent. Some school-based youth suicide awareness programs exist to try to increase high-school students' awareness of the problem, provide knowledge about the behavioral characteristics of teens at risk, and describe available treatment or counseling resources. However, some research has shown that this may have an unintended negative effect of suggesting suicide as an option for teenagers [1].

Counter-measures to suicideEdit

When talking to a teenage person who is contemplating suicide, it is important to take the threat seriously. Seventy-five percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.[2]

There are many methods of helping teenagers who are considering suicide. In order to help a suicidal person it is important to show the helper can be trusted and will listen. Seeing a doctor is widely recommended as well. A course doctors commonly take when presented with a young, suicidal patient is a combination of drug-based treatment (eg. imipramine or fluoxetine) with a 'talking-based' therapy, such as referral to a cognitive behaviour therapist. This kind of therapy concentrates on modifying self-destructive and irrational thought processes. [3]

When trying to help a teenager who is considering suicide, it's important to try to find out what is troubling the person. Lack of parental interest in their teenage children may be considered a factor in teenage suicide: according to one study 90 percent of suicidal teenagers believed their families did not understand them.[4]

When confronted by a suicidal teen, do not try to argue them out of committing suicide, or attempt to make them feel guilty for considering suicide (eg. "your family loves you so much, how could you think like this?"). This type of intervention can actually serve to alienate the child further. Instead, try to explore the reasons why the teenager is so unhappy and feels that suicide is the only solution. The teenager's pediatrician will also be able to plan a suitable course of treatment, or make a psychiatric referral, if the teenager is willing to engage with the proposed treatment.

In a crisis situation professional help must be sought, either at hospital or a walk-in clinic. There are also several telephone help numbers for help on teenage suicide, depending on one's location (country/state). Also, emergency services should be contacted immediately, in case the teenager makes a suicide attempt.

See alsoEdit

References & BibliographyEdit

  1. "The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent Suicide 1999", United States Department of Health and Human Services, 21 July 2004, retrieved 2 May 2006.
  2. When you fear someone will take their own life. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. URL accessed on 2006-08-27.
  3. Treatments: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. depresioNet. URL accessed on 2006-08-27.
  4. AAP - Preventing Teen Suicide. American Academy of Pediatrics. URL accessed on 2006-08-27.

Key textsEdit


  • Centers for Disease Control. (1992). Youth suicide prevention programs: A resource guide. Atlanta, GA: Author.


  • Eddy, D.M., Wolpert, R.L., & Rosenberg, M.L. (1989). Estimating the effectiveness of interventions to prevent youth suicides: A report to the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide. In M.L. Rosenberg & K. Baer (Eds.), Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide: Vol. 4. Strategies for the prevention of youth suicide (DHHS Publication No. ADM 89-1624, pp. 37-81). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Eggert, L.L., Thompson, E.A., Herting, J.R., & Nicholas, L.J. (1995). Reducing suicide potential among high-risk youth: Tests of a school-based prevention program. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 25, 276-296.
  • Garland, A., Shaffer, D., & Whittle, B. (1989). A national survey of adolescent suicide prevention programs. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28, 931-934.
  • Garland, A.F., & Zigler, E. (1993). Adolescent suicide prevention: Current research and social policy implications. American Psychologist, 48, 169-182.
  • Hazell, P., & King, R. (1996). Arguments for and against teaching suicide prevention in schools. Australian/New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 30, 633-642
  • Kalafat, J., & Elias, M. (1994). An evaluation of adolescent suicide intervention classes. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 24, 224-233.
  • Kalafat, J., & Elias, M.J. (1995). Suicide prevention in an educational context: Broad and narrow foci. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 25, 123-133.
  • Metha, A., Weber, B., & Webb, L.D. (1998). Youth suicide prevention: A survey and analysis of policies and efforts in the 50 states. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 28, 150-164.
  • Miller, D.N., Eckert, T.L., DuPaul, G.J., & White, G.P. (1999). Adolescent suicide prevention: Acceptability of school-based programs among secondary school principals. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 29, 72-85.
  • O'Carroll, P.W., Mercy, J.A., Hersey, J.C., Boudreau, C., & Odell-Butler, M. (1992). Centers for Disease Control youth suicide prevention programs: A resource guide. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control
  • Vieland, V., Whittle, B., Garland, A., Hicks, R., & Shaffer, D.J. (1991). The impact of curriculum-based suicide prevention programs for teenagers: An 18-month follow-up. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30, 811-815.
  • West, M.A. (1998). Federal, state, and community partnerships to prevent youth suicides. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 28, 143-146.
  • Wynne, E.A. (1989). Preventing youth suicide through education. In M.L. Rosenberg & K. Baer (Eds.), Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide: Vol.4.
  • Strategies for the prevention of youth suicide (DHHS Publication No. ADM 89-1624, pp. 37-81). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Zenere, F.J., III, & Lazarus, P.G. (1997). The decline of youth suicidal behavior in an urban, multicultural public school system following the introduction of a suicide prevention and intervention program. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 24, 387-403.

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