Teen suicides are sadly are on the rise, up over 300%! Dr. Paul Meier of the Meier of the Meier Clinc shares how to help teens.
Paul Meier, M.D. 888-7 CLINIC www.meierclinics.org Page 1 HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD OR TEEN MAY BE SUICIDAL AND WHAT TO ASK THEM Because of the culture we live in, suicide in children and teens is at an all time high—300% higher than it was 50 years ago. According to a national poll of over 90,000 American teens, one out of every 23 female teens and about one out of every 33 male teens will attempt suicide in the next twelve months. More males will die, however, because they use more violent means. Most suicides are not planned ahead of time, especially in children and teens; they are impulsive decisions during a relationship break-up or some other crisis, and most suicides are decided on within fifteen minutes of the actual death. Most adults who have a crisis have enough experience to know they will survive and get past it. Kids who get depressed feel like it will never go away and they will spend the rest of their lives in horrible pain. When we have the flu, we may feel like ―dying‖ that day because of all the muscle aches, nausea and the depressing chemicals we may be taking, but we feel fine a day or two later. Depressed people feel sadness and pain every day until they recover. Most depressed people, regardless of age, will recover with good therapy, but if suicidal thoughts are involved, I recommend an antidepressant and professional help as well. If the child has thought of possible methods of suicide, intensive professional help should be obtained. If suicide is seriously being considered, then hospitalization is necessary to protect the child until he or she recovers. Almost everyone recovers from depression if they get the right kind of professional help, which may include medication.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO MAKE SUICIDE LESS LIKELY FOR THEIR CHILD OR TEEN:
1. Realize that even if you are ―perfect‖ parents, your children are shaped by their genes, their environment, and their own choices, so even awesome parents sometimes lose a child to suicide.
2. Live a godly and loving life with them, showing them unconditional love.
3. Encourage them to share their feelings – happy feelings, sad feelings, lonely feelings, angry feelings, whatever – from early childhood on, even if they are angry at you. Nearly all of us were more in touch with our feelings when we were two or three years old than we are now because we have too often been taught to suppress our feelings.
4. Depression is either genetic or it is caused by anger turned inward, so kids who share their anger and learn to resolve it seldom act out on it. Kids who stuff their anger often become depressed, rebellious, self-destructive, abuse drugs, participate in other dangerous activities, and are more likely to commit suicide.
5. Kids who get straight A’s and are totally compliant are more likely to kill themselves than kids who have a little healthy rebellion and express their emotions more freely.
6. Teens who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or smoke pot regularly are seven times more likely to kill themselves than teens who do not indulge. Plus excessive alcohol and pot cause permanent brain damage, as seen clearly on Spec Scans.
7. Don’t ever be afraid to ask your children if they ever feel like they wish they could die. Just talking about it makes them feel better or makes it less likely they will feel that way. If they do say they have death wishes, ask them if they have had thoughts come into their heads about different ways to do it. When they share a method they have thought about, they are much less likely to actually carry it out. Bringing things out in the open has a very beneficial effect. but be sure to follow through with getting professional help if they feel significant depression or continued death wishes. My book, Blue Genes (Tyndale, Publisher), provides information about genetic, spiritual and emotional causes of depression and how to prevent or cure it. This article also appears on our clinic website at www.meierclinics.org.
If you missed this important conversation we had with Dr. Meier this week, you can listen now by clicking here.