Suicide: Resources for Parents and Teens

What factors encourage teen suicide?

Recently, the media reported several stories that may bring this question to the forefront for you, your teens and their friends. Three students committed suicide recently in the Denver Metro area. A 21-year-old Massachusetts woman was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for goading her apparent boyfriend to commit suicide in 2014. At the reading of the verdict, the judge commented that her behavior and texts displayed “reckless conduct” in encouraging her boyfriend to carry out his plan to kill himself.

A medical journal also reported a study last month that examined whether there was an increased frequency of suicide-related searches on Google during the weeks that viewers were watching the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. This controversial series depicts a high school female, Hannah, who records audio tapes to notify others how they played a role in her eventual death. The show has spawned a debate about its implications for suicide. Some viewers felt that it promoted suicide while others argued that it raised suicide awareness.

This  compelling study, published in JAMA on July 31, 2017, found an increase in searches for certain terms that were indicative of suicide awareness, such as “suicide prevention” (up 23%). However, the authors also found significant increases in terms that focused on suicidal ideation:

  • How to commit suicide (up 26%)
  • Commit suicide (up 18%)
  • How to kill yourself (up 9%)

These potential deleterious effects of 13 Reasons Why remind us that suicide prevention must be an ongoing conversation with our teens. Whether the “tipping point” is a bully, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a TV show or an underlying mental health issue, now is a good time to talk. Here are some resources to get you started. Feel free to forward this list to your teen or tween if they want to learn more. If they have been worried about a friend, we hope these additional tips will help.  Of course, you can always call us for help too.

About the Author
Dr. Dan Feiten cares for infants, children and young adults at Greenwood Pediatrics Southeast in south Denver, Colorado. He is particularly interested in Type 1 Diabetes, premature newborns and childhood behavior.

Posted: 8/8/2017 8:26:48 AM by Deb Braun | with 0 comments
Filed under: conversation, prevention, suicide, teens, with

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