And she is close to becoming a statistic—the one American teenager out of thirteen who commits suicide each year.
Shawna’s history of abuse and neglect has pushed her to thoughts about ending her life. What can prevent her from succeeding? Just think about that word in this context.
This was the question I asked myself when I decided to write Sliding on the Edge, then I began researching to find the answer. Fortunately, experienced professionals have set out ways teens can recognize the destructive thoughts and actions of a potential suicide victim. These professionals have provided ways to involve the whole community in stemming these truly tragic deaths.
I’d like share some of the resources I uncovered in hopes they will help save other teens like Shawna who are “seeking a permanent solution to temporary problems.” (Quinnet, Suicide, the Forever Decision, 1987.)
In their book, The Power to Prevent Suicide,
Richard Nelson and Judith Galas
devote Chapter 2 to the following facts:
- Suicide Is a Leading Cause of Death Among Young People Today.
- Few Suicides Happen Without Some Warning
- Suicide is Preventable Talking about Suicide Won’t Give Teenagers Ideas
- Suicide Is Not Inherited
- Most Suicidal People Are Not Mentally Ill
- People Who Talk about Suicide Commit Suicide
- Suicide Is Not Just a Way to Get Attention
- Suicidal Teens Believe Their Problems Are Serious
- Many Things Lead Up to a Suicide
- No Special Types of People Commit Suicide
- People Who Attempt Suicide Are in the Most Danger When They Start to Feel Better
- A Concerned, Caring Friend Can Make a Difference
- “About 80 percent of suicides have made at least one previous attempt.” (Zienart, Karen. Suicide, A Tragic Choice. 76)
- “It takes a long time to help suicidal people, the majority of whom are deeply depressed, find a reason to live. Sometimes progress is so slow that they give up and kill themselves.” (Zienart, Karen. Suicide, A Tragic Choice. 77)
- “The majority of suicidal people are ambivalent: Part of them wants to die, part of them wants to live. Therein lies the conflict and struggle. A suicidal person may not be consciously aware of his ambivalence.” (Smith, Judie. Coping with Suicide. 35)
- “Persons who wish to kill themselves are suicidal for a limited period of time. The decision to commit suicide can always be re-decided.” (Smith, Judie. Coping with Suicide. 37)
My Top Choices as Resources for Teens, Teachers & Parents
- Suicide. Quinnet, Paul. New York: Continuum, 1987.
- Coping with Suicide. Smith, Judie. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1990.
- Suicide Tragic Choice. Zeinert, Karen. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc. 1999.
- Dying of depression. (psychology of teenagers and teenage suicide) Bernadine Healy. U.S. News and World Report, Nov 10, 2003 v135
- Adolescent experiences with death: letting go of immortality. (Theory and Practice) Illene Cupit Noppe and Lloyd Noppe. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, April 2004 v26 i2 o146 (22).
- Isolated girls most at risk. (Suicide) USA Today (Magazine), April 2004 v132 i2707 p12(2).
If interested in organizing a local Students Preventing Youth Suicide (SPYS) contact Dr. Richard E. Nelson, Assistant Director Counseling and Psychological Services Watkins Health Center The University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 66045
- Girls with friends think less of suicide. (United Press International, Jan 6, 2004) pNA
- College students reporting more incidents of self-abuse. Nearly 1 in 5 students in U.S. Ivy League schools reported self-injuries like cutting or burning. School counselors are encountering this destructive behavior in high schools and middle schools across the country, and over 400 websites are discussing, and unfortunately, sometimes glorifying self-injury. (San Jose Mercury News, June 5, 2006)
- The Growing Wave of Teenage Self-Injury. (New York Times, May 6, 2008.) Click to read article