This past Wednesday, November 19th 2008, a 19 year old boy committed suicide by overdosing in front of a web cam. As shocking as this may sound it is even more shocking that this very same teen gave all of the warning signs. He even blogged about it twelve hours before going through with it. It is said that while some of the viewers watching egged him on, there were also some that tried to talk him out of it.
Unfortunately there are many instances very much like this one that happen on a daily basis. Perhaps not in front of a web cam but nonetheless it is sadly proven that teens are committing suicide more and more every year. The warning signs are posted everywhere and there are teen suicide lines in every state so it is quite an alarming statistic to see that among all ages suicide is more prominent killer than homicide!
The National Center for Disease Control did a survey on teen in grades 9-12 over a twelve month period. The results were as follows:
• 24.1% of students had thought seriously about attempting suicide .
• 17.7% of students had made a specific plan to attempt suicide .
• 8.7% of students had attempted suicide .
• 2.8% of students had made a suicide attempt which resulted in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that required medical attention
It is my opinion that the only reasonable explanation for the majority of the above statistics is a simple lack in the education of what to look for in your teen. Obviously not all suicides can or will be prevented but if one teen life is saved because of the proper education it would be well worth the money spent. After all, our country spends millions of dollars on preventing teen pregnancy, I think it would be worth a little attention to keep our children alive as well.
If you suspect a teen could be going through a hard time and may even be thinking that there is no way out please take a moment to check out these warning signs and contact the proper help lines, counselors or authorities.
* The number one sign is someone who is talking about it. Do NOT ever assume that someone is doing this for attention! It could be a deadly mistake.
* Look out for a change in personality. Someone who becomes suddenly sad, withdrawn from group activities, indecisive, irritable, anxious or apathetic is obviously going through a hard time. Take a minute to talk to them and find out more. There is no guarantee that they are suicidal but there is also no guarantee that they aren’t.
* Look for a change in academics. This is a huge sign of someone who has stopped caring about themselves.
* Take note of a change in sleeping and eating patterns. When a person is going through a severe depression it is usually first noted by a change in eating to sleeping. Some people use sleep and food to escape their problems. Other use a lack of it to attempt to control things in their life.
It is also 100% acceptable to call 911 when you or someone you know is in a bad state of mind.
Remember it is always better to be safe than sorry. Just about every parent or teacher who has come in contact with an angry teen has heard the words “I hate you”. I can guarantee you that if given the opportunity a parent who has lost their child to suicide would do just about anything to hear those words again. Do not be afraid of upsetting someone when it could very well save their life.