Facts About Teen Suicide

Watch this video and learn the warning signs of teen suicide.

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Statistics indicate that suicide is the eighth leading cause of death regardless of age, sex or race. Canada leads the numbers having the worst adolescent rate among the world’s leading industrial powers. Every year, 300 kids between the ages of 10 and 19 kill themselves. (Carol Goar, Toronto Star, Feb. 11, 2005).

Today’s busy life affects teens more than ever, and in Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 24 years of age. Sadly, many youth suffer in silence and statistics show that boys commit suicide more often than girls.

These are disturbing numbers, especially when we as parents are told that teen suicide is preventable.

For parents, it is important to acknowledge that teen suicide is a very complex issue to understand.

The decision by a child or youth to commit suicide is a complicated process that may be triggered by one event, repeated events, or by the overwhelming feeling of helplessness with no hope.

Suicide Prevention – Warning Signs

For most adults, we have experienced days in our lives, where we may have felt that life was not worth living, that we just couldn’t make it through one more day. These are normal feelings that we experience, but as adults, we know how to relax, take time to think things through and know that there is always a solution to make things better for us if we try. For many youth and teens, they don’t have the foresight developmentally to know that feelings of despair and hopelessness are temporary and that tomorrow will be a new, better day.

Many youth are sending out a plea to anyone who will listen, but if we don’t talk about suicide how do we know when to listen? There are warning signs that parents can be aware of, for example:

  • Youth may be exhibiting a sudden change in their behaviour, that send out positive or negative messages in how they interact with family and friends
  • Youth may be showing signs of apathy, isolation and withdrawal from family and friends
  • Youth may experience a change in their eating and sleeping patterns
  • Youth may show an unusual preoccupation or interest with death and dying
  • Youth may be engaging in self-harm
  • Youth may be giving away their personal belongings and treasured possessions
  • Youth may be exhibiting signs of depression, hopelessness, and extreme moodiness
  • Youth are at a higher risk if they have previously attempted suicide
  • Youth are higher at risk if there was a recent attempt or death by suicide of a friend or family member

What You Can Do

Depression and mental illness leading to suicide is very real. If you suspect someone you know is showing the warning signs of depression or suicide, visit our get help page.