How Do You Assess Adolescent Suicide Risk?

What are the signs of adolescent suicide risk?

Suicide represents the third-leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of those who attempt suicide are not successful, but it often represents a cry for help, and unless that cry is heeded, death may result. Adolescents who attempt suicide often share common feelings of depression, which is usually a reaction to perceived loss. Feelings of helplessness, despair, and worthlessness may be involved as well.

Several risk factors that help determine one’s potential include previous suicide attempts, sleeping or eating disruptions, having a definitive plan, whether or not the plan is reversible, giving possessions away, a history of severe alcohol or drug use, a history of previous psychiatric treatment or hospitalization, and the proximity of the means to kill oneself. Most suicides can be prevented if the warning signs are noticed early and appropriate help is received.

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