Between August and December of this year alone, there have been seventeen suicides across the Clark County School District. This is a significant increase from the entirety of last year, where CCSD saw eleven suicides. With this dramatic rise, we have decided to remind and update our readers about suicide prevention in today’s high schools.
Teens and older adults are the two groups most likely to commit suicide. The difficulties faced in these stages of life can cause emotional turbulence and stress, especially in people our age. Teenagers face pressures every day to conform and succeed while struggling with self-doubt, alienation, and a lack of self-esteem. Many of these symptoms can also be tied to undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and various other psychiatric conditions.
Predicting who is likely to attempt suicide can be very difficult; however, understanding the emotions of those close to us may be crucial in decreasing the suicide rates among teens. According to Matthew Nock, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, people who are planning suicide try to deny suicidal thoughts or intentions. This means that friends and family have to be aware of some other signals that a person they care for needs help.
There are a long list of suicidal signs to look for, including but not limited to: excessive sadness or moodiness, violent or rebellious behavior, hopelessness and a feeling that circumstances will not improve, and changes in eating and sleeping habits. Furthermore, dangerous or self-harming behavior, such as drug and alcohol use, lack of value placed on life, persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, decline in quality of schoolwork, frequent complaints about emotionally-related physical symptoms, rejection of praise or rewards, and recent trauma or life crisis can all trigger a suicide attempt. The most noticeable sign, however, is the threat to commit suicide: nearly seventy-five percent of those considering suicide will confess suicidal thoughts to a close family member or friend.
The three most effective prevention measures are: communicating if you are worried about someone whom you believe is at-risk for suicide, responding quickly in a crisis, and offering help and support. While there are important tips in how to help someone who is likely to commit suicide, the first and most important step is notifying a professional.
If you, a loved one, or a friend are showing some or all of these signs, the time to get help is now. Contact a professional, the school counselors, or the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.