For parents, suicidal thoughts and behaviors are one of the most alarming concerns of childhood depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control CDC , death by suicide is the second leading cause of death among to year-olds, and many more children attempt but do not complete suicide.
Suicide rates in America are the highest they've been in 50 years. According to the CDC, suicide rates were significantly higher in compared with among females ages 10 to 14 1. In , adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of This accounts for both girls and boys. Typically, rates of suicide increase with age, peaking in late adolescence.
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Girls more often attempt suicide, but boys more frequently follow through to completion. According to one study, suicidal thoughts are linked to a worse course of depression, the symptoms of which include earlier onset, longer duration, and shorter intervals of remission. It's important to know that not all depressed children will have suicidal thoughts or behavior. In fact, it's one of the least common symptoms of childhood depression.
Also, not all children with suicidal thoughts and behavior are depressed. Perhaps most comforting to know, not all children who have suicidal thoughts will attempt suicide.
A–Z - Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
However, it's a good predictor for future attempts, and these children always need to be evaluated by a professional. It's not always easy to detect the risk factors that may contribute to a child's risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. However, recognizing them and getting help can be life-saving.
If you think that your child or someone you care about has some of these factors, consider setting up an appointment with a mental health professional for a suicide-risk assessment. If the adolescent is high risk, you may need to schedule these assessments on a regular basis. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your child's well-being. If you think that your child is in crisis and he or she has had a previous suicide attempt, is threatening to harm herself, or you just have a "gut feeling," get your child help immediately.
Do not wait.
If needed, take your child to a pediatric emergency room. Having a child who is depressed or is suicidal does not make you a bad parent or mean that you did anything to cause her pain. The best thing you can do is to get your child help and support her in her recovery. If your child or someone else you know is showing the warning signs of suicide, contact your pediatrician, local mental health service providers, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at TALK If they appear to be in a volatile state or in imminent danger of hurting themselves, call and get them to the emergency room.
Do not leave them alone.
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Risk and Protective Factors. Risk Factors Risk factors are characteristics of a person or his or her environment that increase the likelihood that he or she will die by suicide i. Major risk factors for suicide include: Prior suicide attempt s Misuse and abuse of alcohol or other drugs Mental disorders, particularly depression and other mood disorders Access to lethal means Knowing someone who died by suicide, particularly a family member Social isolation Chronic disease and disability Lack of access to behavioral health care Risk Factors Can Vary Across Groups Risk factors can vary by age group, culture, sex, and other characteristics.
For example: Stress resulting from prejudice and discrimination family rejection, bullying, violence is a known risk factor for suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBT youth.
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The historical trauma suffered by American Indians and Alaska Natives resettlement, destruction of cultures and economies contributes to the high suicide rate in this population. For men in the middle years, stressors that challenge traditional male roles, such as unemployment and divorce, have been identified as important risk factors. Protective Factors Protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect people from suicide.
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