Why are teenagers so angry? Why are teenage girls so mean? Why is my teenager so quiet? At what age do teenage mood swings stop? Parents worldwide are all worried about their adolescents’ mental health.
So, why are teens troubled today more than ever before? It feels as if they are in their own little bubble. The teen years are a phase of life that can be difficult and confusing at times. There are several reasons why being a teen is stressful. Some of the common causes include expectations and pressure to do well at school. These pressures and expectations arise from parents and other family members. Other causes include social relationships with friends, life challenges, and the issue of sex.
Research shows that the prefrontal cortex develops fully once a teen becomes an adult. This explains why teens are more emotional and impulsive from the age of 12 to 18 than at other stages in their development. As such, it’s common for teens to yell or act before thinking without considering the consequences. The sole purpose of the anger and mood swings that are so common in adolescent life is to prepare a teenager for the responsibilities he will face in adult life.
As a parent, you may wonder what you can do to prevent your teenager from becoming part of this statistic. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Do Teens Consider Suicide?
Global suicide rates among adolescents in the 15–19 age group, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) Mortality Database, are one of the leading causes of death among young people. Sadly, it is the leading cause of death in this age group after transport and other accidents.
As aforementioned, the prefrontal cortex in teens fully develops when they reach their mid-20s. The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s executive control centre. It plays a central role in cognitive control functions, thereby influencing impulse inhibition. Since this area of the brain is not fully developed in teens, they tend to act impulsively and emotionally.
So, why do teenagers consider suicide? Many factors can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviour in teenagers. These include:
Mental health disorders: Teens with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse are at increased risk for suicide. These disorders can lead to feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and despair.
Bullying: Adolescents who are bullied are also at high risk for suicide. Bullying can lead to feelings of worthlessness, isolation, and powerlessness.
History of mental health disorders or suicide: Children with a family history of mental health disorders or suicide are also at risk. This may be due to genetic factors or to the fact that children learn coping mechanisms from their parents or other family members.
Substance abuse: Abuse of drugs or alcohol can also lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Substances can impair judgment and result in poor decision-making. It can also lead to paranoia, anxiety, and depression.
Previous Suicide Attempt: Children who have attempted suicide in the past are at significant risk of doing so again.
Teenagers thinking about suicide may also make the following statements and comments openly: “I won’t be a problem for you much longer” or “I wish I was dead. ”
Which Teens Are at Risk for Suicide?
Certain risk factors can make some teens more likely to consider suicide than others. These include:
- A psychological disorder, especially depression, anxiety, bipolar, or substance abuse
- Feelings of distress, hopelessness, worthlessness, irritability, agitation, or guilt
- Impulsive behaviours
- Family history of suicide
- Previous suicide attempt
- Access to firearms in the home
- Exposure to the suicide of a friend or family member
- Being bullied or engaging in bullying
- Problems at home, such as divorce, financial stress, or abuse
- Loss of a loved one
- Chronic pain or disability
What Are the Symptoms of Suicidal Thoughts?
Parents can watch out for several signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts and suicide. Being extremely sad or moody is one of the common signs of suicidal thoughts. If your teen has had long-lasting sadness and mood swings, then it could be a sign of depression, which is a precursor to suicidal thoughts.
Personality changes, especially attitude changes, are clear signs of suicidal thoughts. Also, if your adolescent suddenly becomes less concerned about their appearance and they sleep less or much more than usual, it’s a sign of a troubled teen.
If your teen engages in self-harm and dangerous behaviour such as putting themselves in dangerous situations, driving recklessly, using drugs or having unsafe sex, it’s a cry for help. This is because such behaviour is a sign that the person may be thinking of ending their life.
Many of the warning signs of suicide are the same as the risk factors. However, some specific warning signs may indicate your teen is in danger and needs immediate help, including:
- Talking about wanting to die or hurt oneself
- Feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
- Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Withdrawing from family, friends, or activities
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Rage or seeking revenge causes extreme mood swings
- Giving away prized possessions
- Preparing for death by making a will or giving away belongings
- Abnormal preoccupation with death or violence
- Previous suicide attempt
What Can Parents Do?
Parenting a teen is never easy. The fear and exhaustion of lying awake at night wondering if your child is safe can be unbearable. So if you’re worried that your teen may be considering suicide, there are things you can do to help.
In many cases, suicide and suicidal thoughts are preventable. The best way you can prevent suicide is by recognizing the signs of depression and other mental health conditions. Next, you need to recognize the warning signs and learn the risk factors for suicide.
The parent-teen relationship is one of the most crucial protective factors against suicide. A positive, supportive relationship can give your teen a sense of belonging, self-worth, and hope.
Don’t be afraid to ask them directly if they’re considering suicide. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s essential to express your concern and let your teen know you’re there for them. When they decide to talk, listen without judging, interrupting, mocking, criticizing, or providing advice. Your child wants to feel understood and valued by you.
You can also seek professional help for your teen. This can be in the form of therapy, medication, or both. Mental health professionals can help your teenager understand and manage their thoughts and feelings. However, if you’re unsure where to start, you can always talk to your doctor or paediatrician. They can help you find the resources you need.
If you see signs of suicidal thoughts in your teen, get in touch with us for further information and a plan of action. In addition, if you suspect your teen may be in immediate danger, don’t leave them alone and seek immediate support:
Pieta House: 24-hour Free crisis helpline call 1800 247 247 or Text HELP 51444 .
To make an appointment or discuss a scheduled appointment with me, please call 0818 111 126 , no referral needed.
Samaritans – Free call 116 123