Finding Answers: A Suicide Toolkit for Teens

If you are a teen who is thinking about hurting yourself, it’s important to know that your pain is real, but suicide is not the answer. There are so many people out there that truly care about you who want to help. In addition, the resources available to you are abundant. Use this toolkit for quick access to those resources, as well as healthy ways to cope with the pain you are feeling.

 Informational Resources

 With all the information being thrown at you in school, it can seem like you are overloaded. Pair that with feeling hopeless, and it can leave you feeling like you are drowning. If you are currently struggling with how you are feeling, take a look at some of these helpful resources for easy, straightforward information. Your parents and caregivers can benefit from some of the information as well, guiding them in ways to help as you make your way back to the top.

For You:

 For Parents/Caregivers:

 

Getting the Right Help

 The brain is a complex organ, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to shut out those negative thoughts and feelings. In addition to the informational resources above, check out these helpful tips for managing your feelings that are both healthy and safe.

 Know the Facts

 Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death for those ages 12 to 18. “More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12,” notes one youth suicide foundation. It’s a truly staggering statistic.   

Around 90 percent of teens who die by suicide suffer from some sort of mental health issue. Most suffer from a mood disorder, and most do not spend a long time thinking about and planning to kill themselves. With teens, more so than other age groups, suicide can be a more impulsive decision. This is what makes it truly frightening. The statistics may be scary, but by simply reaching out for help, you don’t have to be one. Help is always within reach.

Assistance at Your Fingertips

The first thing you need to hear if you’re currently having suicidal thoughts is that emotions are temporary, and suicide is forever. Even if you think you have made up your mind, give yourself at least 24 hours to separate your current feelings from any actions you plan on taking. As a teen, through no fault of your own, you are quite susceptible to violent mood swings. It’s not a weakness, it’s simply biology. Your brain is changing at a rapid rate.

 Two numbers you can call right now are the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Both will have people waiting to talk to you, 24/7/365. They are trained to deal with your specific situation and they care. Everything you tell them will remain totally confidential.  

If you are feeling unsafe around yourself and you don’t know what to do, text the word SAFE to 69866. You’ll be contacting SAFE PLACE, a national youth outreach program for youth in distress and in immediate need of safety  for any reason.

866-4-U-TREVOR will connect you with the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are having thoughts of suicide. It is free, available 24 hours a day, and 100 percent confidential.

Make the Right Decision

While the feelings and emotions that prompt people to think about suicide are temporary, the root causes of those feelings can be traced back to your brain. There are ways to help yourself manage mental health issues like depression, anxiety, addiction, and more.

The first step is to talk to someone about your feelings. As long as it’s someone you trust, it can be anyone. If you are having problems with substance abuse or depression, it may be best to seek the help of a mental care specialist.

Teens need to take care of their minds as much as they do their bodies. Participating in group activities, socializing with friends, and finding hobbies you truly enjoy are all healthy ways to boost your brain. Teens should stay away from drugs and alcohol, as they are more susceptible to the negative mental effects associated with substance use. Drugs and alcohol may appear to alleviate depression in the short term, but in the long term will only serve to make the situation worse.

Helpful Coping Tools

Did you know that about 2/3 of people who die by suicide are depressed? Furthermore, depression that is untreated is the number one cause of suicide. While the first step should be seeking the help of a professional, there are several activities you can participate in to alleviate your depression symptoms and lift your mood. The following are just a few of the many activities you can try:

 Whether you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts or have even made an attempt, it is important for you to understand that suicide is NEVER the best option. While your world may seem bleak at the moment, the gray will soon part and make room for the color to flood back in. Seek the help you need and enjoy the rainbow.

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