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Information About Suicide

Suicide is a problem among youth.

It is the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents in Wisconsin. 18% of youth reported seriously considering suicide, and 9% of youth reported attempting suicide (YRBS, 2005). There are about 20 times more attempts than deaths by suicide. This number is important and actually reassuring because it provides us with a measure of hope and ability to intervene. If we can learn to recognize the warning signs, and gain confidence in our ability to intervene with suicidal youth, we may be able to prevent many youth suicides.

Suicide is a complicated human behavior.

Here is what we know:

  • There is no typical suicide victim.
  • There are no absolute reasons for suicide.
  • Suicide is always multi-dimensional.
  • Preventing suicide must involve many approaches and requires teamwork.
  • Most suicidal people do not want to die; they just want to end their pain.
  • Ambivalence almost always exists until the moment of death.

Suicidal people share some special characteristics, such as:

-A suicidal person sees suicide as the "solution" to his or her problems.
Efforts to discuss alternative solutions are very worthwhile.

-A suicidal person is in crisis. Suicidal people are experiencing severe
psychological distress and they need help in handling the crisis.

-Almost all suicidal people are ambivalent, - they wish to live, AND they wish to die. We MUST support the side that wants to live and acknowledge the part that wants to die. Talking about these mixed feelings lowers anxiety. Listening, caring and getting them help may save a life.

-Suicidal thinking is frequently irrational. Depression, anxiety, psychosis, drugs, or alcohol often distort the thought process of people when they are feeling suicidal.

-Suicidal behavior is an attempt to communicate. It is a desperate reaction to
overwhelming circumstances. We need to pay attention.

Compiled from: Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Guidelines.