Suicide Awareness

.. frustration tolerance, and poor impulse control” (16). Triggering events for child suicide are seemingly minor life events (16). The suicide rate for fifteen to twenty-four year-old exceeds the overall suicide rate for the total population (Borst 8). The onsets of puberty and hormones that bring out sexual maturation are the most prevalent biological risk factors in adolescent.

The sense of identity is a major development task of adolescence. “Teenagers who develop some consistent understanding of whom whey are and whom they are becoming will have foundation of competence in coping with the stresses of this period. In contrast, adolescents who struggle with their identities are less likely to develop the coping skills needed to deal effectively with these challenges” (16). Fluctuating mood states are psychological risk that all adolescents experience (16). Many suicidal adolescents come from highly conflicted homes that are unresponsive to the teenager’s needs.

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Suicidal adolescents are often socially isolated and alienated individuals. They are likely to have poor peer relationships and are generally unpopular at school. Also, drug and alcohol abuse is common with adolescent suicidal behavior (17). Most troubled adolescents, including those who are suicidal, tend to perform poorly in school and to be skipping frequently (Coleman 17). Triggering events often seem trivial to adults. This age group often exaggerates the importance of minor events such as failure experiences of problems with peers, parents, siblings, or the opposite sex (Borst 17).

Studies have shown that eighty percent of all suicide victims give some kind of coded message that they are planning or thinking seriously about killing himself or herself (Coleman 127). “A series of these signs should be taken as a cry for help: acts of aggression/violent behavior, passive behavior, running away, alcohol and/or drug abuse, changes in eating habits, changes in sleeping behavior/insomnia, frequent crying, sudden changes in personality, sudden mood swings, impulsivity, lack of interest in school work/decline in grades, difficulty concentrating, loss or lack of friends, preoccupation with death, decline in personal appearance” (127). The early signs are depression, statements or expressions of guilt feelings, tension or anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, loss of weight, and impulsiveness. The critical signs include sudden change in behavior (especially calmness after a period of anxiety). When they give away belongings, the person attempts to “get one’s affairs in order.” Also direct or indirect threats to commit suicide or direct attempts to commit suicide are critical signs of suicidal behavior (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic). “Many unsuccessful suicide attempts are carried out in a manner of setting that makes rescue possible; the must be viewed as a cry for help” (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic).

There are relatively nonviolent methods and there are violent methods. The relatively nonviolent methods include poisoning, overdose, or inhaling car exhaust. The violent methods include shooting, cutting, and hanging oneself. Violent methods are more likely to be chosen by males. It is a fact that suicide attempts made by males are more likely to be successful (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic).

Hanging is the leading method of suicide worldwide. Sixty percent of all suicides in the United States are committed with firearms. Poisoning, such as an overdose of medication, accounts for about eighteen percent of United States suicides. Research shows that a small proportion of fatal single-occupant automobile accidents are actually suicides (Suicide). Suicide is committed frequently because most of these individuals feel isolated, neglected, and unheard by others in society (Coleman 3). Most suicides can be prevented because the suicidal state of mind is usually temporary (Suicide).

“The most common element involved in suicide seems to be the perception that life is so painful that only death can provide relief” (Suicide). Most people who attempt suicide talk about it before making the actual attempt (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic). Suicidal individuals communicate their intentions by indirect methods. These indirect methods are used to determine if anyone will take them seriously, if anyone really cares, and if they will take some action (Leone 129). The ability to talk to a sympathetic, nonjudgmental listener is enough to prevent the person from attempting suicide (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic).

“Following a suicidal threat, the family and friends should remove any obvious tools that may be used in a suicide attempt, and the person should be watched closely” (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic). Mental health professionals should be consulted immediately. During periods of critical suicidal behavior hospitalization may be necessary (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic). “NEVER IGNORE A SUICIDE THREAT OR ATTEMPTED SUICIDE!” (Disease, Condition or General Health Topic). Suicide is often the deadly end point of depression, substance abuse, and delinquency. When a pattern is seen that often ends in suicide, immediate attention must be directed to the individuals safety.

Hospitalization of the suicidal individual is not optional; it can not be postponed until the following day. The person must be safe and if the family can not trust them over the course of the day and night, then twenty-four-hour hospital care is mandatory. If outpatient care is acceptable the home must be made suicide-proof. This can never be completely accomplished; all firearms need to be removed, dispose of all unused medicines, lock up keys to any automobiles, and remove all ropes and cords that could be used for hanging (Leone 76). “Making the method for self-destruction less accessible gives the teen more time to consider options other than suicide” (Leone 76). The first major suicide-prevention telephone hotline was established by mental health professionals in the United Sates during the 1950s.

Around the clock staffs of counselors and trained volunteers provide a listening ear to those in despair. They can also tell the callers where the best place they can receive professional help. To those people in a crisis the hotlines provide a valuable service but research has shown that hotlines only help those who call (Suicide). “The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) holds biannual congresses in various parts of the world where information about activities in suicide and its prevention is exchanged” (Farberow xiii). Suicide has a devastating emotional impact on the family members and friends that are left behind (Suicide). When a person commits suicide in his or her own home one-half of the time, the victim is discovered by a relative (Farberow 118).

A family member or a friend may obtain additional burdens if they find the body of the suicide victim (Suicide). “The intentional, sudden, and violent nature of the person’s death often makes others feel abandoned, helpless, and rejected” (Suicide). Many times parents suffer from exaggerated feelings of shame and guilt. Support groups may be especially helpful for grieving suicide survivors (Suicide). Surviving is full of confused feelings. Guilt, grief, anger, and despair increase their own risk of self-inflicted death (Leone 171). “Each day they may play the game of if’s: “What if I said of did that?” “What if I didn’t?” Survivor groups help those left behind to learn what feelings to expect, and to learn the course of grief” (Leone 171). Health Care.