Honor Her Memory With Awareness For Others | Advice Columns – Brunswick News

Posted: August 22, 2020 at 2:52 am

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I have sad and terrible news. My cousin just committed suicide. She left a letter that said goodbye to her mother and then took a massive amount of her mothers sleeping pills. Everyone in our family is in a state of shock, disbelief and emotional pain. Why would a young person like my cousin do something like this? She always seemed so happy and looked to me like she had it all together. She was popular, nice-looking and a pretty good student. I just dont get it, and my heart hurts for her. What can I do now?

Dear Shocked Cousin: Suicide is an enormous tragedy that often leaves a family filled with grief and guilt, and when a young person is involved, those emotions are naturally compounded even more. According to Mental Health America, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for adults, but for teens, is the second leading cause. Every day in this country, roughly two-dozen teens take their own lives, and more than 50 teens and preteens attempt suicide. Some of these young people, such as your cousin, dont obviously broadcast warning signs. Sadly, in cases like this, no one realizes something is deeply troubling them until they attempt or succeed at committing suicide.

Many teens are in the most trying and painful days of their lives. There often seems to be no middle ground. Quite often, teen years yield either happiness or despair. Teens try to establish an identity; they are learning to operate independently, growing physically and intellectually, choosing a career path and developing lifelong relationships.

At times when family instability rises, some teenagers find they cannot cope with life. Parents may inadvertently contribute by making steep demands on teens or subjecting them to feeling they are not living up to expectations. Tragically, it may take relatively little to make a teen feel worthless.

When a teen commits suicide, family factors are the most commonly cited cause. Death, divorce, alcoholism, drug abuse and child abuse all add to a teens loneliness and depression. Other factors include the loss of a boyfriend or girlfriend or a sense of abandonment when someone else close to them goes away.

Of the many research studies on this topic Ive read over the years, one in particular sticks out. Six-thousand teens that had attempted suicide were interviewed, and their life histories were compared with those of a group of teens who had never attempted suicide. The self-destructive teens had a much higher percentage of parents who had divorced, separated or remarried within the past five years. Those who had been through multiple separations and were shuttled from relatives to foster homes throughout their lives were often deprived of the love and stability every child needs.

The study traced the path of suicide from family problems to a sequence of school failures, truancy, loneliness and depression. Often, a teen tries to latch on to someone but may become so clinging and smothering that the relationship does not last. When this relationship fails, the teen feels hopeless and isolated and feels there is only one solution left: self-destruction.

Fortunately, there are great resources available to help prevent teen suicides and suicide attempts, and to honor the memory of your cousin, lets focus on how we might help others in the future. First and foremost is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-(800) 273-8255. They provide this list of key warning signs to be aware of so help can be sought immediately:

Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.

Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun.

Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

Talking about being a burden to others.

Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.

Sleeping too little or too much.

Withdrawing or isolating themselves.

Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

The silver lining to the suicide issue when it comes to teens is their innate resiliency. Teens, once successfully engaged, can often move permanently away from thoughts of suicide as quickly as they first came to them. Protective environments, community engagement activities, problem-solving skills, social-emotional learning programs and many more support activities exist and are ready to be activated to help any teen who may be at risk. To anyone reading this column who notices a young person who may be spiraling toward a dark place, please take immediate action to introduce professional, loving assistance.

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Honor Her Memory With Awareness For Others | Advice Columns - Brunswick News

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August 22nd, 2020 at 2:52 am

Posted in Self-Awareness