Children are our future, and for the health of children, both physical and mental, we are responsible – adults. Sadly, Russia ranks first among suicides and suicidal behavior of children and teenagers in the world. Moreover, every year the number of suicidal attempts increases by 1 – 2%.
The timely detection of suicidal behavior and the prevention of suicide attempts falls primarily on parents and teachers, although psychologists and psychiatrists play an equally important role in this task.
- About 30% of people from 14 to 24 years old had suicidal thoughts.
- 6% of adolescent boys and 10% of adolescent girls make suicidal attempts.
- Only in 10% of cases, the suicidal behavior of adolescents really want to “end their lives”, and in 90% of cases – it is to draw attention to themselves.
- In children up to 13 years old, suicidal behavior is rare, and from 14 to 15 years old there is an increase in suicidal activity. Its peak occurs in adolescents 16 – 19 years of age.
- About 34% of minors repeat their suicide attempts, and with each new one the likelihood of death increases.
- Up to 80% of suicide attempts are made in the afternoon or in the evening – as a cry for help and to attract attention.
- About 13% of the dead children and adolescents of the total number of those who died by violent death ended their lives of their own accord.
- Up to 62% of suicides among adolescents were committed for reasons of family conflicts, fear of violence from elders, incorrect behavior of teachers and conflicts with them, classmates and friends, as well as with the indifference of others.
We will understand the terminology
- Suicide is the conscious deprivation of oneself of life, which ends in death. In terms of the psychology of suicide, there is a reaction to affect, the elimination of emotional stress and deliverance from the difficult psychological situation in which a person has fallen. Persons who are trying to resort to suicide are experiencing severe mental pain and are in a state of stress, do not find a way out of an unfavorable situation other than suicide.
- Suicidal behavior is a manifestation of suicidal activity, that is, a person has thoughts and intentions, attempts at blackmail and threats, as well as attempts on his life. The behavior of future suicides, that is, suicidal is observed in normal and psychopathy.
- A suicide is a person who either attempted suicide or demonstrates readiness for it (suicidal tendencies).
Varieties of suicidal behavior
There are several varieties of suicidal behavior (suicidal tendencies):
With this type of behavior, a teenager has a strong desire to attract attention to himself and his problems, to show how difficult it is for him to cope with life problems and difficult situations. This is a kind of cry for help. In the case of demonstrative suicidal behavior, attempts to commit suicide are not made in order to actually achieve a lethal outcome. This goal is to cause fright among others, an attempt to make them think over their problems and “understand” people about their unfair attitude towards a child. Examples of the demonstration of suicidal behavior: shallow and non-dangerous vein cuts, taking non-toxic drugs, staging self-hanging.
The basis of affective suicidal behavior are bright emotions, under the influence of which a teenager impulsively tries to end his life, but does not have a clear plan of suicide. Such emotions are always negative and extremely pronounced: insult, anger. Examples of affective behavior: hanging attempts and poisoning with potent drugs and toxic substances.
True behavior or a pronounced desire for death
The teenager carefully and thoughtfully preparing for suicide, prepares a plan of action in advance, and all attempts are structured so that they truly end in the death of a suicide. As a rule, with this type of suicidal behavior, children leave suicide notes in which they either “forgive everyone for everything” or do not blame anyone for anything, and also explain their desire to end earthly existence. Examples of true suicidal behavior: hanging and jumping from a height.
Causes of suicide
Messages to commit suicide arise without external provocations and, as a rule, appear in the form of blackmail of loved ones: “Oh, here you are! And I, therefore, will do so! ” The motives of suicide in adolescents and children are the following:
Lack of a mature understanding of death
The teenager does not realize that death is forever. He thinks that I will scare “them” and everything will come back and the problems will disappear. Awareness of death and its fear is formed only by 18 and later years.
No recognized ideology in society
In a country where there are no stable notions about homeland, about family, etc., adolescents more often feel unnecessary and depressed.
Early sexual debut
It has 2 sides: on one side, adolescents feel adults, and on the other, the early onset of intimate life leads to serious disappointments. For example, it may be the loss of a lover (he / she left me), an unwanted and, of course, unexpected pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and so on. In this way, the purpose of life is lost and it is impossible to chart ways to achieve it.
Depression and various psychosis in a third of cases lead to suicide in children. Such adolescents lose their taste for life, cannot experience vivid positive emotions and pleasure from what they previously received. The child feels hopelessness, hopelessness, guilt and self-judgment, becomes irritable and anxious. Somatic manifestations of anxiety include tremors, rapid breathing, and dry lips. The teenager either suffers from insomnia, or is sleepy during the day, there are unexplained pains in the head or abdomen. Psychogenic disorders and mental states are caused by serious losses (loss of health, death of relatives or a friend, change of residence).
The physical state
Children who have serious illnesses: tuberculosis, cancer pathology or heart problems. Moreover, the attempt of suicide happens at the stage of examination, when the diagnosis has not yet been established.
- Disharmonious relationships in the family – long-term and incessant conflicts with parents, brothers / sisters.
- Self-destructive behavior in a teenager – this item includes excessive alcohol consumption, drug addiction, communication with an anti-social company.
- School relationship. Teens spend most of their time at school, where they may have conflicts with both teachers and classmates.
- Material and domestic difficulties. This is a rare cause of suicide in adolescents.
To speak specifically about any one motive of suicide is inappropriate. A combination of several dangerous factors that persist for a long time leads to suicidal behavior.
Teenagers predisposed to suicide
There are so-called “risk groups”, which include adolescents with one or more factors that significantly increase the likelihood of suicide. High suicidal risk is noted in the presence of the following circumstances:
- parasuicide, that is, in history there is an unsuccessful (incomplete) suicide attempt – the probability of a repeated suicide attempt is 30%;
- auto-aggression – the desire for self-harm;
- suicides among relatives;
- alcoholism and drug addiction (prolonged use of alcohol or drugs aggravates depression, exacerbates the feeling of guilt and self-worthiness) – among minors the probability of suicide is 25-30% and in some cases increases to 50;
- suicide threats (both direct and hidden);
- adolescents – “loners” who do not know how to establish normal interpersonal relations;
- depressive states, especially protracted;
- supercriticism to oneself;
- the presence of chronic or fatal diseases;
- suffered humiliation or heavy losses (loss of a loved one, friend, relative);
- psychological dissatisfaction (discrepancy between real achievements and expected success);
- family problems (parents divorce, etc.);
- feeling of total loneliness (teenagers, rejected by the environment).
What does a teenager want to show
What are the goals of teenagers – suicides:
- Protest or revenge. The suicidal behavior of adolescents in the form of “protest” has the goal of harming the abuser and taking revenge on him according to the principle: “when I die, you will be worse.” In this case, the idea of suicide arises impulsively, and the conflict is acute.
- Call The goal of a suicide attempt is to get help from others to make a difference. In this case, suicidal behavior also develops sharply, and self-poisoning is often an attempt at suicide.
- Avoidance of punishment / suffering. The suicide attempt in this case pursues the aim of avoiding punishment when it is threatened, consequently, of mental and physical pain.
- Self punishment To resort to a suicidal attempt to force either the experience of real guilt, or a consequence of contrived guilt.
- Renouncement. This type of “rejection” of life is observed in mentally ill adolescents.
Typical signs of impending suicide
In order to recognize a teenager’s desire to end his life in time, adults, especially teachers and parents, should know and be able to identify signs of suicidal behavior in minors.
Various emotional disturbances come to the fore in the planning of suicide:
- loss of appetite, or, on the contrary unmanaged gluttony;
- sleep problems (insomnia or daytime sleepiness for several days);
- persistent complaints of unreasonable somatic ailments (abdominal or headaches, constant fatigue, constipation, dryness of the tongue, and others);
- indifference to their own appearance;
- the constant feeling of worthlessness and loneliness, longing or guilt;
- being in a state of boredom, sullenness, nastiness, grumpiness or longing;
- refusal of contacts, communication with friends and family, becoming a “lonely person”;
- distraction attention, from which the quality of the work performed;
- thoughts of death;
- future uncertainty;
- uncontrollable and sudden bouts of anger;
- motivated or unmotivated fears;
- hate the welfare of others.
Also in the clinic of suicidal behavior there are characteristic behavioral signs:
- establishing order in their affairs (reconciling with old enemies, giving away valuable and expensive things to a teenager, establishing order in his personal things: in the room, in the closet, on the writing table);
- farewell in the form of gratitude to different people for their help and assistance in various periods of life;
- satisfaction externally in the form of a surge of energy (the decision is made, the plan is verified, the disappearance of doubt, calm and external slackness);
- radical change in behavior: skipping schoolwork, carelessness in appearance, failure to do homework, avoiding communication with classmates, changing the euphoric state to bouts of despair;
- changes in speech: slowness or acceleration and expressiveness, brevity of answers or lack thereof;
- written confirmations (diary entries, letters).
Signs of depression
Often, suicidal behavior is accompanied by depression. For depressive states characterized by:
- reduced ability to concentrate and think clearly;
- loss of satisfaction in situations that cause positive emotions;
- lethargy and constant fatigue, lethargy of speech and movements;
- lack of effectiveness in the educational process and domestic affairs;
- feeling inferior and useless, loss of self-esteem;
- sleep disorders;
- pessimism about the future;
- inadequate response to praise;
- feeling of bitter sadness with the transition to crying;
- appetite disorders, and, as a consequence, weight gain or loss;
- constant reflections on death / suicide;
- loss of sex drive.
Intimate surroundings (teachers and parents, friends and classmates) believe that diagnosing suicidal behavior is not particularly difficult (I’ll immediately notice that a child / friend / classmate is not okay).
In fact, everything is much more complicated, and “missed” suicides reach their goal only because they are unheard. Most adolescents planning suicide deal with psychologists and educators, visit doctors and social workers. services for quite a long time in order to speak out and be heard.
The main “tools” of adults in assessing suicidal risk are:
- conversation with the child;
- constant observation of a teenager;
- third-party information received from people from close surroundings;
- psychological tests.
In a conversation with a child, the following statements prevail, which are important to pay attention to:
- they don’t love me;
- I am not needed, I am a useless person;
- I do not want to see anyone, and even less to communicate;
- life is meaningless;
- farewell (this was my last visit);
- I do not want to live;
- I’m dying;
- I can’t stand it.
Prevention of suicidal behavior is not an easy task and includes not only the actions of parents and educators / educators, but also the peers of a child who has conceived suicide (friends, classmates, sports section comrades, and others).
It should be remembered that the attempt or suicide plans of a teenager is, first of all, a cry for help, a request to draw attention and a desire to be heard. Preventing suicide should include the work of people from close circles on all sides (teachers and school psychologist, family, friends and classmates).
Recommendations to parents
Parents should know that any child’s suicidal behavior begins with depression. Therefore, the prevention of suicide of the child should begin with prevention and taking measures to eliminate the decadent mood:
Attentive attitude and talk
It is necessary to constantly talk with the child, sincerely interested not only in his condition, but also in plans, unresolved problems and difficulties. In conversations with a teenager, parents should set him up for an “optimistic attitude”, instill confidence in achieving their goals. With the child, it is necessary to talk about the future (in a positive way), help resolve the difficulties that have arisen, analyze them and look for optimal ways to overcome them. In no case should parents be allowed to reproach a teenager with a “constantly dissatisfied look and grumble”, to compare a child with other, more successful, vigorous and positive children. You should also try to reveal the positive aspects and hidden resources of the personality to the child. To increase the adolescent’s self-esteem, it is allowed to compare his “yesterday’s” with him’s “today’s” and adjust to an even more successful version of the “teenager-tomorrow”.
A positive role is played by the introduction to the everyday life of a child of new affairs. Parents, together with a teenager, it is important to learn something new and useful every day, to do what they didn’t do before (any hobby, walking together or reading and discussing books will do). It is necessary to write the child, as well as the parents themselves, in the gym or jointly doing morning exercises. It is recommended to review the options for doing household chores, to carry out a general cleaning of the house, or even repairs. As an option, to buy any pet (maybe a child dreamed of it in childhood), and caring for a new family member mobilizes the teenager and adjusts to a positive outlook on life.
Compliance with the mode of the day
It is important to establish and monitor compliance with the regime of the day of the child. You should pay attention to adequate and complete sleep, timely and proper nutrition, long walks in the fresh air and active movements (sports games). Improving the physical condition of the first enemy of depression.
The need for consultation with experts (psychologist, psychotherapist).
Memo to teachers
Teachers (the child spends most of his time at school) play an important role in preventing suicides in adolescents, and they must take into account the child’s behavior at school and interpersonal relationships.
- attention and listening to a teenager (the child suffers from loneliness and wants to share the painful ones);
- correct formulation of questions, calm and intelligible questioning about the essence of the alarming situation, offer of assistance;
- lack of condemnation and surprise in response to what was heard;
- recognition of the child’s “trouble” as a fact (the denial of the problem makes the teenager feel worthless and petty);
- the destruction of the aura of tragedy about his death in a teenager;
- rejection of consolations, but convincing the child of the temporary nature of the problem;
- giving real hope for overcoming difficulties, strengthening his faith in himself and in his own abilities;
- manifestation of understanding and sympathy;
- monitoring student behavior, analyzing his peer relationships.
Advice for adults
A number of recommendations have been developed, which should be followed in an interview with a teenager – a suicide to any adult from his close environment:
Identification of signs of suicidal behavior
Prevention of suicide includes not only the participation of friends and their care, but also the timely recognition of signs of impending danger (depression, suicidal danger, previous suicide attempt, behavior change, helplessness and hopelessness, etc.).
The perception of suicide as a person
To accept that a teenager is really intending to commit suicide, therefore, not allow him to think about his inability to carry out his plan (too weak, cowardly, stupid, etc.). Do not believe or allow others to convince you of the juvenile intentions of a teenager to commit suicide. It is better to exaggerate the possible threat of suicide than to underestimate.
In this case, it’s not so much the words that are important as the participation, sympathy and friendly support that will make the teenager understand that he is needed and loved.
Potential suicide is important not so much a dialogue with an attentive interlocutor, but the opportunity to speak out and be heard in his pain and problem. It is necessary to try to exclude confusion, condemnation and shock from what was heard in the monologue of a teenager. It is necessary to encourage the interlocutor to reveal his own soul (I appreciate your revelations, I understand that it is very difficult to talk about the painful and decision to leave, I have all the attention). Also important is the ability to “hear the third ear”, that is, to note the behavior and facial expressions, the slightest change in mood and movement, disturbed sleep and appetite.
Disputes – no
Conducting a conversation with a suicide, it is necessary to abandon all kinds of disputes with him, statements like: “Do you live much better than others, what do you lack?” Or “You will disgrace and make your family unhappy.” Such statements block further frankness of the interlocutor, suppress him even more, and the adolescent closes himself, as a result of which his conviction to commit suicide is only strengthened.
Ability to ask
In a dialogue with a child, correctly asked questions are of no small importance. Do not be afraid to ask: “Are you planning to commit suicide?” – a person who has never thought about it, respectively, will not come to such a thought. And a teenager with suicidal behavior will feel relieved that someone is interested in his thoughts and feelings and is ready to listen. In their answers, an adult can use the rephrased questions of the interlocutor, which will help him understand his own thoughts and experiences.
Participation, not Consolation
These experiences imply from an adult not unjustified consolations (everyone had this, not you first, not you last), but interest and responsiveness. The conversation should be conducted in line with love and care, throwing aside the ones that have been imposed on the language of the cliché. Otherwise, the teenager will feel even more useless and unnecessary, since for him there were not the only true words that distinguish him as a separate person.
Offer constructive approaches
Instead of banal phrases: “Think about your family / friends, how they will suffer in the event of your death”, you should ask your child to think about alternative methods, because death is the last option. It is possible that in a conversation a teenager will rethink his decision and find a way out of the impasse. The best solution is to find out what else is dear to the child and what he appreciates. By directing him along this path, it is possible to change the decision about his departure from life.
It is very important to make the child believe in another, not such a radical resolution of a difficult situation as suicide. Even the slightest glimmer of hope gives a chance to reverse the crisis and abandon thoughts of suicide.
Fight against loneliness
In no case should not leave the child alone, alone with their experiences and intentions. You can enter into a contract with a teenager, the essence of which is to promise to contact a specific adult before decisive action to discuss alternative methods of behavior.
The help of specialists
Conversations with parents and friends do not help in all cases, no matter how much they want to help a child who decides to commit suicide. In some cases, it may be effective to help a priest, or psychiatrists and psychologists. In some situations, hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital is required.
Preservation of further care and support
Even after resolving a critical situation, adults should not relax. The fraudulent moment may be active suicide, asking for forgiveness from offended people, returning debts, fulfilling obligations. Such actions only confirm that the teenager did not give up his intentions. Therefore, it is recommended for a long time to show care and support the child.
Teen – suicide
Every person at least once in his life would appear to be in an intolerable and monstrous situation, when the only way out of it is voluntary retirement. But there is always a way out of any situation, and finding it is the first task for a person who decides to commit suicide. In self-struggle with seemingly insurmountable difficulties, the following tips will help:
- Life will not leave you, there is always a loophole or a ray of hope flashes to solve the problem. Curve always take out (as an option – maybe).
- Accept a difficult situation as inevitable, but do not put the solution of your problems on the shoulders of others; only you yourself can survive the crisis, not someone else.
- Share your thoughts, feelings, difficulties, do not avoid communicating with people.
- Search through the memory and recall the person who faced a similar or even more difficult problem, remember how he overcame it and take this person as a sample.
- Not all actions and words of others are intended to offend you and hurt. Calm down and look at the attitude of others around you from the other side.
- Formulate the right conclusions. A negative result (in this case, a defeat) is also a result and gives you invaluable life experience.
- The betrayal of one person does not mean at all that absolutely all people are “such”, and the two at the exam is not the end, but only the beginning for a serious struggle (in this case, for knowledge).
- You should not “dwell on” what happened, chew again and again an unpleasant situation. It is impossible to forget, but to throw “in the attic of memory” is quite realistic.
- Do some auto-training.
- Try to look great – all enemies and problems out of spite.
- Do not be ashamed to ask for help, most people will be happy to provide it.
- If possible, go on a trip, no matter what the nearest village is, a summer house or just a hike with friends.
- Please yourself even in small things, buy tasty or very desirable.
- Do some sports.
Is it true that all suicides are mentally ill?
Indeed, the frequency of suicides is significantly higher among mentally ill people. But not all suicides suffer from any mental illness, it is often just a cry for suicide help.
Is it true that one cannot talk with a potential suicide about death and escape opportunities?
Not. If a person wants to live, no talk about suicide will come up against the idea of committing it. And, on the contrary, a teenager who was thinking about the desire to commit suicide is happy to discuss this issue with someone and find alternative solutions.
Is suicidal addiction really inherited?
This question is difficult to answer, as there is no definite evidence yet.
If a person talks about suicide, then he will never dare?
Not. A person who has decided to die out in almost 90% of cases wants and tries to discuss this issue with others. The task of relatives is to be able to hear a call for help and, if possible, dispel dark thoughts from a potential suicide.
Are suicides always done without warning?
Not. These or other signs in human behavior are always present. This is not necessarily talking about death and suicide, but also changes in behavior and even physical condition. The task of adults is to recognize such manifestations in time and take measures.