Untreated depression is one of the leading causes of teen suicide, and signs of depression can also be a warning that a teen is contemplating suicide. In an article published this week in the quarterly journal, The Prevention Researcher, University of Cincinnati researchers are describing how positive connections can help offset these tragedies.
In the current issue, titled, "Teen Depression," UC researchers Keith King, a professor of health promotion, and Rebecca Vidourek, an assistant professor of health promotion, report that depression and suicide are "intricately intertwined among teens" in their article, "Teen Depression and Suicide: Effective Prevention and Intervention Strategies."
The authors reveal that teen suicidal warning signs encompass three specific categories:
Behavioral warning signs - Traits that teens may display when contemplating suicide include difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping; changes in school performance; loss of interest in once pleasurable activities; giving away cherished possessions; expressing thoughts of death or suicide.
Verbal warning wigns - Verbal statements include, "I want to die;" "I don't want to be a burden anymore; "My family would be better off without me."
Stressful life events - A traumatic event for the teen, such as a breakup, parental divorce or loss of a loved one.
King and Vidourek also highlight national research that finds that gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered teenagers are at an elevated risk for depression and suicide, possibly because of lack of support systems and social acceptance, as well as greater isolation among peers.