According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide remains the third leading cause of deaths among adolescents. I have previously blogged for Psychology Today on adolescent suicide related behavior and high risk associated with LGBT youth. While depressive symptoms are a risk factor, even among those who exhibit depression or depressive symptoms, clinician face difficulties predicting self-harm or suicide attempt (Hetrick, et al., 2011). Therefore, it is important for parents to pay attention if they notice differences in their child’s behavior.
Risk Factors of Suicide Related Behavior
Risk factors for suicide are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take her or his life. Suicide risk tends to be highest when someone has several risk factors at the same time. The most frequently cited risk factors for suicide are:
It is important to bear in mind that the large majority of people with mental disorders or other suicide risk factors do not engage in suicidal behavior.
Protective Factors for Suicide
Protective factors for suicide are characteristics or conditions that may help to decrease a person’s suicide risk. While these factors do not eliminate the possibility of suicide, especially in someone with risk factors, they may help to reduce that risk. Protective factors for suicide have not been studied as thoroughly as risk factors, so less is known about them. Protective factors for suicide include:
How You Can Help
Take it Seriously
Encourage Professional Help
Follow-Up on Treatment
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://www.afsp.org/
National Suicide Prevention http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-studies/warning-signs-of-suicide.shtml
Copyright 2014 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook!
Follow Dr. Turner on twitter @DrEarlTurner
Dr. Turner is a licensed psychologist with expertise in behavioral pediatrics, child mental health, disruptive behavior disorders, and minority mental health. He is also certified as a National Register Health Service Psychologist.