Does Depression Lead to Teen Suicide?


Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 24, and the sixth leading cause of people aged 5 to 14. Teenagers are truly under a lot of stress and often find themselves in situations that feel impossible to cope with. Pressure comes at teens from all directions – peer pressure to make destructive decisions, pressure from parents and teachers to do well in school, pressure to make the right decisions in planning the rest of one’s life. Some teens escape their youth unharmed, but not all people have the coping skills to deal with their teenage years in a healthy way. So what is it that makes some teens feel they are incapable of dealing with the pressure and see no way out other than suicide? In a word: depression.

Depression is a disorder that distorts a patient’s thinking. It forces the patient to focus on failures, disappointments, and other negatives in life. Depression stops a person from seeing many of the positive aspects of life. Being unable to see positivity means a person is incapable of seeing possible positive outcomes. A teen struggling with depression may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is Depression. Unable to believe he/she will ever be successful or happy, a frustrated, depressed teenager may see no option other than to end his/her life.

Parents and other family members of teenagers should take note and seek help if they notice the following signs in their loved one:

  • Changes in sleeping habits – not getting adequate sleep or sleeping too much

  • Changes in eating habits – overeating or not eating

  • Withdrawal from friends and family

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Violent or excessively angry outbursts

  • Lack of concern for personal appearance or hygiene

  • Use of drugs or alcohol

  • Difficulty concentrating or significant decline in academic performance

  • Notable personality changes

  • Frequent complaints of physical pains, such as headaches or stomachaches

  • Rejecting praise or rewards

  • Complaints of feeling like a bad person

  • Suddenly seeming cheerful after a period of depression

  • Talking about suicide or “leaving”

  • Hinting he/she is a burden

  • Giving away or throwing away formerly prized possessions

Depression and suicide are hard topics to talk about. If you believe a loved one may be suffering from Depression or contemplating suicide, it is important to initiate the conversation. Your family doctor can help you initiate the process of treatment.


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