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Youth Suicide


Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults so it is very important that friends and loved ones take any indications that a young person is suicidal very seriously.

Warning signs that indicate heightened risk for suicide in young people include:

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Expressing marked emotional pain or distress
  • Showing changes in behavior including:
    • Withdrawal from friends and family
    • Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
    • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
    • Recent increased agitation

The above is adapted from an excellent resource that includes additional helpful information to help prevent youth suicide: Youth Suicide Warning Signs.

If you are concerned that a teenager you know may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, ask them about it and let them know you are worried about them. Do your best to connect them to resources as soon as possible.

If your instincts tell you that someone is in crisis and may be at risk of hurting themselves in the immediate future – strive to get them help right away:

  • Stay with them while you assist them in getting help.
  • Call 911, the campus counseling service (during the day) or campus security
  • You can also text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) to be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center
  • Or bring your friend or loved one to the nearest Emergency Department.
  • If someone is agitated or potentially violent, avoid putting yourself in a personally dangerous situation – call 911 rather than bringing someone to the hospital yourself.

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The World Health Organization defines “mental health” “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” In using this definition, S2i recognizes that some mental health challenges reflect brain diseases that, like physical diseases, require appropriate stigma-free and patient-centered care and include both mental health and substance use disorders. Other mental health challenges stem from social conditions and marginalization and require different forms of interventions.