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.

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