If friends and family look carefully, they may be able to spot warning signs of suicide before their loved one attempts it. Oftentimes, a suicidal person will give some behavioral or verbal warning signs to those around them. Researchers believe that noticing these warnings signs can help save the lives of many teens. They also stress that strong connections built between family and friends may also help prevent depression and suicidal thoughts.
How Family Communication Prevents Suicide
Strong relationships with family and friends promote healthy communication between teens and adults. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati studied how open communication and strong bonds with family, teachers, friends, and community helped prevent teen depression and suicide. Researchers encourage family and friends to be good listeners. When someone is suffering from suicidal thoughts and tendencies they need to know that someone cares about them.
Advice is not usually what they are seeking, it is the listening and caring that matters so much. Trust, friendliness, intimacy, and joy are knit into these strong connections to friends and family that can help uplift a person who needs more strength when their mental illness threatens to keep pulling them under.
Behavioral Warning Signs Of Teen Suicide
King and Vidourek classified teen suicide warning signs into three different categories: behavioral, verbal, and stressful life events. Teens may exhibit multiple behavioral signs that could indicate they are contemplating suicide or may be at risk for suicide. Some of these signs, like poor school performance, insomnia, and excessive sleeping could be indicators of one of many mental health problems; but, grouped with behaviors like giving away some of their personal possessions to loved ones and even drawing out suicide plans or drawing pictures or writing about themselves dying can be serious signs of suicide risk.
Verbal Warning Signs Of Suicide Risk
Secondly, King and Vidourek caution family and friends to look for verbal warning signs of suicide risk. When someone frequently talks about their death and how they would be better off dead, loved ones should take notice. Frequently, those who attempt suicide say that they feel worthless, that they want to die, and that their death would probably be better off for everyone.
Helping Teens Through Stressful Life Events
The researchers mention that stressful life events can also trigger some of these suicidal thoughts. They recommend that family and friends keep their loving connections strong with those teens working through the break-up in a romantic relationship or with a close friend, those whose parents are going through a divorce, or those who have suffered any other stressful life event.
It is important to keep those connections and support and reassurance of love strong for someone who is contemplating suicide, but family should not feel they have to shoulder it alone. Professional mental health specialists can help guide families and suicidal teens back toward hope.
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