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May 10, 2011 > Teen suicide attempts are calls for help

Teen suicide attempts are calls for help

By Meenu Gupta

Attempted suicide by troubled teenagers is a continuing problem; adolescence is an unsettling time. With the end of the school year just around the corner, worries over good grades, college admissions and social activities heighten. "Suicide is a difficult topic for most of us to think and talk about," says Geneva Bosques, Community Engagement Manager, Fremont PD. "Teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in; they may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation."

While depression is a major risk factor for teen suicide, other risk factors include a hostile social or school environment or a recent traumatic event. Availability or access to a firearm is another major factor along with alcohol, drugs and prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Cyber bullying or childhood abuse can also lead to depression among teens, especially those without a strong support network.

According to American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, a teenager who may be considering suicide typically shows a change in eating and sleeping habits and may frequently complain about physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, etc. Violent or rebellious behavior or drug and alcohol use are additional warning signs that a teen is in depression. He/She may withdraw from friends, family, and regular activities showing persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork. Depressed teens start neglecting their personal appearance and are indifferent toward their future.

"Paying attention to the events in the life of your teen is the best way to intervene and prevent something bad from occurring," said Bosques. If you have a family member or friend who you are worried about, don't wait to seek help.

Resources for support during an emotional crisis include:

Alameda County 24-Hour Crisis Support Center
Crisis Line for Youth staffed by Youth
California Youth Hotline
Trevor Lifeline

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