Spotting the Signs of Teen Suicide

March 15, 2005 at 8:40 pm  •  Posted in Suicide Prevention by  •  0 Comments

Teenage Suicide Warning Signs

The National Association of Social Workers views the current high rate of child and adolescent suicide as a national tragedy. Young people with the following risk factors may be at risk:

  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Previous family history of suicide
  • Depression and other mental health problems
  • Impulsivity
  • Learning disabilities
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Demographic pressures
  • Social changes
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Sexual identity issues
  • Drug use
  • Disrupted family relationships
  • The role of pop culture, including music and television
  • suicide clusters and contagion
  • The availability of lethal weapons


Here are some of the possible warning signs of suicide. They indicate that a young person may be feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, angry, or depressed.

  • Dramatic personality changes
  • Relationship problems with intimate friends, parents, and other relatives
  • Sadness or depression including loss of appetite, problems sleeping, low energy or poor concentration
  • Extreme anxiety or feeling of panic
  • Problems in school, frustration and/or disappointment over performance
  • Boredom or indifference
  • Major health problems
  • Aches and pains that have no apparent medical cause
  • Rebellious, aggressive, irritable or destructive behavior
  • Careless personal hygiene
  • Substance abuse (including alcohol)
  • Writing notes about death or glorifying suicide
  • Giving away or selling valuable or cherished possessions


Sources: NASW publication Social Work Speaks, January 31, 2003, and

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