When adults see children and adolescents, they think they are so full of life and have such bright futures. Looks can be deceiving. Young people are sometimes hiding fears, insecurities, and feelings of hopelessness from which they think they cannot escape.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in those age 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is hard to imagine that to these children, taking their own life seems like the only option. Adolescents may attempt or commit suicide because of mental illness, such as depression, that has not been treated, bullying or cyberbullying, to escape an abusive situation, or other situations that leave them feeling that all hope is gone.
In today’s world of non-stop interaction on social media and the internet, it is hard to avoid the constant barrage of images that make you feel like you or the life you lead aren’t good enough. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” That was long before social media, but it is more fitting today than ever before.
Teens often attempt to end their life not to die, but to escape the pain they are experiencing. And, they often feel that killing themselves would be the best solution for themselves and their loved ones.
It is important to know the signs of suicide and take action. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides this list of signs of someone contemplating suicide:
• Threats or comments about killing themselves
• Increased alcohol and drug use
• Aggressive behavior
• Social withdrawal from friends, family, and the community
• Dramatic mood swings
• Talking, writing, or thinking about death
• Impulsive or reckless behavior
Help is available. If you notice any of these in someone you know or love, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), call 911 immediately or seek the help of a mental health professional.
Red River Youth Academy is located at 3400 Deskin Drive in Norman, Okla., and serves children and adolescents experiencing serious emotional/behavioral disorders. At Red River, we believe in hope, second chances, and new beginnings. We are dedicated to providing the most effective care for our residents through programs designed to target specific problems faced by youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders and to teach them new life skills to enable them to succeed in society. For more information, please call (405) 701-8530 or visit https://redriverya.com/.