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Jersey City NJ Drug and Alcohol Rehab

What to Know About Teen Suicide

Adolescence has always been rocky, but statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggest it’s riskier than ever. A recent survey found an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among high school students in 2019, the year before the pandemic, and Psychology Today says the U.S. is facing a teen suicide pandemic. Suicide itself is not a mental illness, but conditions like addiction and depression play a big role. What many people don’t realize is that substance abuse is often a contributor to suicidal ideation, and this is true for those in Jersey City, NJ as well. 

In the U.S., the number of suicide deaths each year is roughly the same as losing all the students in one big high school. The CDC says almost 1 in 5 American teens have seriously thought about attempting suicide. In a school with 500 students, that means around 100 teens have thought of hurting themselves. In a college lecture hall, 7 in 50 students have considered suicide. (The CDC defines adolescence as the years between 10 and 19.)

What Are the Causes of Teen Suicide?

Young people in Jersey City who have mental disorders or gender identity issues are more likely to think of suicide. Issues like race and bullying add to existing teen concerns, and COVID-19 has only made the threat more severe. A survey released by Parents Together says 7 in 10 kids say they feel sad because of coronavirus, and almost half of the parents report their kids are experiencing mental distress. Other stressors include divorce, moving, separation from parents, and financial problems.

These factors increase risk:

  • Psychological disorders, such as depression, substance use disorder, or bipolar disorder

  • Family history of depression or suicide

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

  • Isolation and lack of support

  • Struggling with sexuality in an unsupported setting

  • Feelings of hopelessness, irritability, or anger

  • Previous suicide attempt

What Are the Warning Signs?

Red flags include talk of suicide, risky behavior, and hints of not being around in the future. Teens may also withdraw from friends and family, give away loved possessions, talk about guilt or hopelessness, and lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Sleep or eating habits may change, concentration may be difficult, and some teens write letters or songs about loss, separation, or death.

What Can Parents Do?

The first step is keeping the lines of communication open and letting kids know they can safely share their feelings and fears. The second is to recognize warning signs and reduce stigma by not overreacting or criticizing. The third is to respond by asking about thoughts without judging, being present, providing a safe place, and helping them reach out for the help they need. Parents can also respond by providing a support system, such as counseling, when things get tough.

Jersey City NJ Drug and Alcohol Rehab

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