Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teen Suicide Pact: Be an Educated Parent

The recent headlines of the two 14 year-old girls that secretly planned their death by hanging at a slumber party has sent shockwaves through our nation. 

The facts behind teen depression and teen suicide are ones that parents need to take the time to understand, learn and be proactive about. 

Did you know? (Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention)
  • 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.
Factors that increase the risk of suicide among teens include (KidsHealth):
  • a psychological disorder, especially depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug use (in fact, approximately 95% of people who die by suicide have a psychological disorder at the time of death)
  • feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation
  • feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often accompany depression (a teen, for example, who experiences repeated failures at school, who is overwhelmed by violence at home, or who is isolated from peers is likely to experience such feelings)
  • a previous suicide attempt
  • a family history of depression or suicide (depressive illnesses may have a genetic component, so some teens may be predisposed to suffer major depression)
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation
  • dealing with homosexuality in an unsupportive family or community or hostile school environment