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Smiling Student

Teens x Mental Health

       Teens face a lot of pressure with school and getting good grades, stress from family, trying to fit in with friends, along with many other factors. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self harming are things that some teens deal with and many don't reach out for help in fear of embarrassment or not believing there is anything wrong.

       Because teens don't often reach out for help, it's important for parents, friends, and family members to understand and properly recognize warning signs when they see them. The sooner a teenager can get help, the better. 

       Across the world, one in seven 10-19 year olds experience a mental disorder or illness and suicide is one of the leading causes for teens and young adults.

       Failing to help teens when they are younger can lead to further issues into adulthood, both physically and mentally. When mental illnesses aren't diagnosed or treated, teens may resort to self harming and thoughts of suicide may intensify. Advocacy is important with teenagers as we need to make sure that they know there are crisis hotlines, school guidance counselors, and doctors who are here to help in a non-judgement zone.

Warning signs a teenager is struggling with mental health

  • Loss of interest in the activities they usually love

  • Sudden disappearance from social media/phone

  • Sudden changes in sleep, weight, eating habits or other everyday patterns

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities they usually attend

  • Running thoughts or worries that won't leave them alone

  • A whole new set of friends you've never met before

  • Refusing to talk about what's bothering them, even after you've made it as safe as possible to discuss hard issues openly

  • Sudden academic struggles/serious fall in grades

  • Obsession with a certain goal, body dysmorphia, low self esteem

  • Signs of drug, alcohol or other substance use

  • Signs of self-harm such as cuts, burns, or bruises

  • Suddenly skipping classes/school days

  • Acting out sexually

  • Severe mood swings

Teens and Suicide

For teens and young people, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. 5,000 young people complete suicide in the United States each year. Each year, there are approximately 10 youth suicides for every 100,000 youth. Each day, there are approximately 12 youth suicides. The numbers for suicide attempts are even higher. Almost 30% of teens have thought about suicide with almost 50% of LGBTQ+ teens thinking about or contemplating suicide.

From 2008 to 2018, the suicide rate in teens and young people drastically rose several percentage points. In 2019 and 2020, the rate went down before rising again in 2020 due to COVID-19. It has remained high since.

Recent CDC reporting shows high school students in distress. Many are struggling and are not receiving the proper education, help, and support. Here at the One Life Project, we work to support, advocate for, and educate teens on mental health, self esteem, and various other topics to help prevent teen suicide.

Teen Suicide

       Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 through 24 and nearly 30% of high school students report thinking about suicide at least once over the past year.

       9% of high school students attempted suicide last school year and suicide rates in teens has increased since social media became increasingly popular the past few years.

       Research shows that the suicide rate is higher with males, but that females attempted suicide at a higher rate. Teens who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are several times more likely to attempt suicide.

      Noticing warnings signs and advocating for teens early on is the most important way we can help those who are battling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

Teen Suicide
warning signs

  • Alcohol and drug usage

  • Changes in eating and sleeping behaviors

  • Withdrawal from friends and family members

  • Neglect of personal appearance

  • Lack of response to praise

  • Irritability

  • Sadness or crying spells

  • Posts on social media suggesting feelings of isolation or depression

  • Talking about or otherwise indicating plans to commit suicide or self-harm

  • Cuts, burns, scrapes on arms/legs

  • Sudden change in mood/mood swings

  • Consistently listening to sad music, writing sad stories, and/or searching on the internet about suicide and self harm

teen suicide prevention

      Noticing the warnings signs is the first thing parents, friends, and family members must do. 9 in ten teens who took their lives struggled with depression, anxiety, or eating disorders and displayed warning signs prior to their suicide.

       Many parents and friends assume that a teen is just having a rough time or having a bad day and think it couldn't happen, but it can. We don't ever know what someone else is truly thinking, so recognizing warning signs now can help save someone's life.

       Be empathetic, understanding, and kind to teenagers who are struggling. Yelling at them for self harming or struggling in school isn't going to help - in fact it may make it worse as the teen may feel you don't support them which can increase their thoughts of loneliness and hopelessness.

       It's also important to advocate for teens and help to create a world that is easier for teens to come forward and ask for help.

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