Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects many young people. In fact, it is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24. (CDC, 2016) In Howard County specifically, suicide was the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19 between 2014-2016. A county-wide survey found that 16% of high school students and 20% of middle school students reported seriously considering attempting suicide. (YRBS, 2016) Additionally, 13.8% of high school students and 11.6% of middle school students reported creating a plan for how they would attempt suicide. (YRBS, 2016)
Feelings of despair and hopelessness are not uncommon in a young person, especially if they suffer with anxiety and depression. But, while many young people have thoughts of suicide, only some of them begin to think about it as a real option. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously.
Some warning signs may help you determine if you or a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. It’s important to know and recognize the 10 common warning signs.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Making plans or looking for a way to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
If you see these signs in yourself or someone else, reach out to someone you trust right away.
You can also contact the Grassroots Crisis Intervention 24-Hour Crisis Hotline