Why do some young people attempt suicide?

We don’t know for sure, because when young people die by suicide they take the answers with them. But young people who attempt suicide and survive tell us that they wanted to die to end the pain of living.

They are often experiencing a number of stressors and feel that they do not have the strength or desire to continue living. It is possible that the majority of young people who die by suicide have a mental disorder, like depression, which is often undiagnosed, untreated, or both.

What are the most common warning signs?

Some estimate as many as 80% of those thinking about suicide want others to be aware of their emotional pain and stop them from dying.

A warning sign does not automatically mean a person is going to attempt suicide, but it should be taken seriously.

How many people know about the warning signs and how to detect if a young person is going to attempt suicide?

Not enough, but more are learning every day.

Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland is developing a number of websites and online resources to provid information to healthcare professionals, parents, teachers, clergy and especially young people.

We believe that primary and secondary school students and college students can and should learn the warning signs and intervention strategies to help their friends so that they feel able to befriend a person at risk of suicide and offer comfort and support as well as knowing when to seek help. It is always better to seek help in error, it's much better to feel foolish than feel guilty.

Are there particular groups who are more at risk of suicide?

Yes, there are some groups who are particularly vulnerable.

Young people with exisiting mental health problems such as depression, especially when undiagnosed, are at higher risk of suicide.

New research is showing that some abuse victims are also at high risk of suicide.

Some reports also suggest that gay and lesbian young people are two to three times more likely to complete suicide than other young people as they generally face more prejudice and harrassment in their daily lives.

Alcohol and substance abuse can also place young people at higher risk of suicide.

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