Teen Suicide: Getting Help Before It's Too Late
I think constantly about committing suicide. I don't have anyone to
tell how I am feeling, certainly not my parents. What should I do?
If anyone has ever told you that high school is the best four years of
your life, you should advise him or her to seek professional help
immediately. Contrary to the lie sold to countless teens everywhere
by their nostalgic (and often delusional) elders, the adolescent
years can be rough.
The most obvious adjustment that a young woman faces in her
adolescent years is with her changing body. Puberty can bring on
fun stuff like breasts and menstruation rather quickly, and a
teenager may need more time to get acclimated to the new things
her body can do. Part of this adjustment lies in the realm of
acceptance -- is her body "normal?" Or is it just so weird that she
should hide in a cave somewhere?
Emotional and social changes accompany the physical ones. Even
today, social expectations for young women are often less
egalitarian and more limiting than people want to admit. Young
women begin to have romantic interests. They strive to achieve
independence from parents, establishing stronger connections
with their friends. Often, fitting in with a group of peers can be
stressful. Some teens are depressed and suicidal because they
are in situations that are truly beyond any teen's coping
skills--sexual abuse, an alcoholic or drug addicted parent, or other
serious family problems.
Feelings of isolation and depression can result. While adolescent
females are less likely to commit suicide than their male
counterparts, they are more prone to thoughts of suicide and
suicide attempts. While most adolescents have thoughts about
suicide from time to time, continual thoughts indicate a more
serious problem. Having a specific plan about how one would
commit suicide is even more serious.
For kids who don't feel like they can turn to their parents, there are
many options in most communities to seek help. Family doctors,
clergy, community mental health centers, trusted teachers, school
counselors, and older relatives are a few options. However, some
of these professionals who might help have obligations to inform
your parents, or at least your parents would have the right to
disclosure. In any case, a professional should help involve your
parents in whatever way would be most appropriate to your
situation and not worsen your situation. A suicide hotline would be
anonymous. It is a way to get some initial counseling and pointed
in the direction of appropriate face to face help. Most of all, if you
ever feel like you are truly on the verge of attempting suicide--go to
the emergency room.