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Teens, College-Age Youth at High Risk of Suicide, Expert Says

Teens, College-Age Youth at High Risk of Suicide, Expert Says

09/07/11

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Although it is often said that the teen and college years should be the best time in a person's life, the risk of suicide is high among these young people, an expert warns.

In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 14 to 25 years, according to Maureen Dasey-Morales, a psychologist from Wichita State University.

Dasey-Morales advised that people who suspect someone they know is having suicidal thoughts should not hesitate to get involved.

"One of the biggest myths about suicide is that asking somebody if they're thinking about hurting themselves will increase the risk of it happening," she said in a university news release. "And in fact, asking is one of the main things somebody can do to prevent suicide from happening."

Another falsehood is that these at-risk teens and young adults are weak or selfish, noted Dasey-Morales. "The reality is that most people who are thinking about hurting themselves feel like others would be better off without them or that somehow there isn't a way out for them, and so part of helping them is to instill hope," she said.

When a young person is contemplating suicide, Dasey-Morales pointed out, there are a number of red flags others may notice, including:

  • Withdrawal from friends and usual activities
  • Mood swings
  • Plotting to hurt oneself
  • Abusing alcohol and other drugs
  • Expressing the wish to die or escape
  • Impulsivity

The most important thing, Dasey-Morales concluded, is that young people having thoughts of suicide should not struggle alone, and they should be made aware of the options available to them to get help.

More information

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides more information on college students and suicide.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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