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Why Teens Consider Suicide

What causes some teenagers to consider suicide, taking their own life? Read on to discover the role of depression in teen suicide.

Teen suicide is becoming more common every year in the United States. In fact, only car accidents and homicides (murders) kill more people between the ages of 15 and 24, making suicide the third leading cause of death in teens and overall in youths ages 10 to 19 years old.

Read on to learn more about this serious issue - including what causes a teen to consider taking their own life, what puts a teen at risk for suicide or self-harm, and warning signs that someone might be considering suicide and how they can get help to find other solutions.

Thinking About Suicide

What causes a person to consider taking their own life? Risk factors for teens thinking about suicide or self-harm and how to help.It's common for teens to think about death to some degree. Teens' thinking capabilities have matured in a way that allows them to think more deeply - about their existence in the world, the meaning of life, and other profound questions and ideas. Unlike kids, teens realize that death is permanent. They may begin to consider spiritual or philosophical questions such as what happens after people die. To some, death, and even suicide, may seem poetic (consider Romeo and Juliet, for example). To others, death may seem frightening or be a source of worry. For many, death is mysterious and beyond our human experience and understanding.

Thinking about suicide goes beyond normal ideas teens may have about death and life. Wishing to be dead, thinking about suicide, or feeling helpless and hopeless about how to solve life's problems are signs that a teen may be at risk - and in need of help and support. Beyond thoughts of suicide, actually making a plan or carrying out a suicide attempt is even more serious.

What makes some teens begin to think about suicide - and even worse, to plan or do something with the intention of ending their own lives? One of the biggest factors is depression. Suicide attempts are usually made when a person is seriously depressed or upset. A teen who is feeling suicidal may see no other way out of problems, no other escape from emotional pain, or no other way to communicate their desperate unhappiness.

The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Or for a crisis center in your area, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

next: Suicide Statistics For Completed Suicides and Attempted Suicides
~ depression library articles
~ all articles on depression

Last Updated: 23 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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