Sue Scheff: Teenage Suicide


As you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.

A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain. This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.


Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC's most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.
Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.

In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.
In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.
Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!

Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates

Also on Examiner.com

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