Posted on Thursday, Feb 18, 2021 by Monika Kelly, ed. Marya Morgan

Crushing loneliness and lack of purpose has seized millions of young adults, causing a frightening spike in teen suicides. Mental health experts urge parents, teachers and pastors to turn the tide of dark thoughts with these three little words: “Tell me more.” Monika Kelly gets advice from Maureen Underwood with the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide who also serves as a social worker and psychotherapist.

RELATED LINKS:  Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide USA: (732) 996-0056      America's Health Rankings - Teen Suicide

Girls are more likely to attempt to take their own lives. Boys are more likely to succeed. Triggers include bullying, loss of a parent due to death or divorce, family history of depression or becoming convinced that no one in the world knows or understands them.

Teen girl with faraway look
[Photo Credit: Unsplash/Alexis Brown] 

Maureen Underwood of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide urges adults to reach out. “Ask that child to tell you more about what’s going on their life right now  .. that has them feeling so terrible that they’re thinking about dying.” 

She also recommends using what she calls ‘joining words’ to speak to kids, words like ‘our heads together’ plus ‘we’ and ‘us,’ words that alleviate the pervasive feeling of being alone.

Underwood says the ultimate thing loved ones can do is demonstrate a commitment to helping a depressed teenager see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

“The way to help somebody is to really to lend them some of your hope.”

Teen sitting alone in dark bedroom
[Photo Credit: Unsplash/Rheet Noonan] 

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