Some of the circumstances, events, and changes that create stress, unhappiness, pressures, and fears in teenagers are: family conflicts; death of a family member or friend; perceived major failure or success; fear of the future; suicide attempt or completion by a known person; previous suicide attempt; assuming guilt about family conflict; feeling ignored; difficulty in handling peer pressure; pressure to succeed; change in residence; trouble with the law; personal injury or chronic illness of self or family member; remarriage of a parent or marriage of a sibling; loss of a job which causes financial stress; change of residency; beginning or ending of school or vacation from school; break-up with boyfriend or girlfriend; recent death or suicide of a family member or friend; and loss of a pet.
If we observe one or more of the following factors in regard to a teenager we should be concerned because these are some of the traditional warning signs regarding suicide: chronic intense anger; a noticeable change in behavior that continues for an extended period of time; a change in eating habits; verbal clues that indicate that the person is preoccupied with suicide; describing specific ways by which they might commit suicide; threatening to commit suicide; having a weapon; having previously attempted suicide; giving away personal possessions; depression that continues for an extended period of time and is accompanied by a change of behavior and speech; schizophrenia (loss of contact with the environment; disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought, and conduct); use of drugs and alcohol; if the person has undergone some type of personal crisis; unwanted pregnancy; abortion; withdrawal from family, friends, and activities; saying good-bye to family and friends; running away from home; lack of interest in personal appearance; displaying aggressive, assaultive, or destructive behavior; a change in sleep habits; physical complaints (headaches, stomach aches); impulsive behavior; a drop in grades and repeated absence from school; the feeling that one is a failure; feeling ignored; feeling guilty; an inability to express oneís feelings; fear of the future; conflicts in relationships.
Be aware of verbal clues and take them very seriously. For example: ďI canít stand it any longer. I wish I were dead. Iím going to put an end to it all. I wonít be around much longer. Thereís nothing to look forward to any more.Ē
Take it seriously if an individual is talking about how, when, and where they plan to kill themself, and if they are thinking, reading, writing, or drawing about death.
By being alert to the warning signs and clues and acting responsibly we can attempt to intervene and possibly save an individualís life.