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FC Home Mental Illness in Children Preventing Teen Suicide


The information below is reprinted from the website WebMD.   If you wish to learn more about preventing teenage suicide, please visit their website at www.webmd.com.    If you have concerns about your child's behavioral health and wish to talk with someone, or  have your child undergo an evaluation, please contact the Fulton County Oak  Hill Child, Adolescent & Family Center at (404) 612-4111.  

The facility provides behavioral health services to youth between the ages of 0 to 21 years old, and is operated by the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities.  

Frequently, Behavioral Health clinicians from the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, will appear on local media programs to discuss mental health issues.  Below, Jennifer Bartl, Behavioral Health Program Manager (Right), discusses suicide and depression on CBS 46 Television's public affairs program.                

     CBS Television Anchor

                                 "Watch the interview now"


Below is information on preventing teenage suicide from the WebMD website:


Many young people face high levels of stress and confusion, along with family problems.   When factoring in raging hormones, it sometimes seems more than a teen can handle.   Perhaps it is not surprising that teen suicide is increasingly common.   In fact, suicide was the third leading cause of death among young people ages 13 and 19 in 2005.   According to WebMD, there were 1,809 suicides in this age group that year.   Males are particularly at risk.   Of that number, 1,445 suicides were carried out by boys.

Nonetheless, attempted suicides greatly outnumber actual suicides.   Because males often choose more violent methods in their attempts, they are often more successful.   But females may attempt suicide 3 to 5 times more often than males.  


Risk factors are habits or histories that put someone at greater likelihood of having a problem.   Some of the risk factors for suicide may be inherited, such as a family history of suicide.   Others, like physical illness, may also be out of your control.   Below are risk factors for suicide:

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Psychological and mental disorders, especially depression and other mood disorders, schizophrenia, and social anxiety.
  • Substance abuse and/or alcohol disorders
  • History of abuse or mistreatment
  • Family history of suicide
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Physical illness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Financial or social loss
  • Relationship loss
  • Isolation or lack of social support
  • Easy access to methods/means of support
  • Exposure to others who have committed suicide


Suicide preventive factors are things that reduce the potential for suicidal behavior, and include the following:

  • Psychological and clinical care for physical, mental, and substance abuse disorders
  • Restricted or limited access to methods/means of suicide
  • Family and community support
  • Support from medical and health care personnel
  • Developing problem-solving and conflict-resolution  skills
  • Religious and cultural belief systems that discourage suicide


According to WebMD, if you want to prevent suicide, it's important to understand depression.   Depression is often used to describe general feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and hopelessness.   When teens feel sad or low, they often say they are depressed.    While most people feel sad or low sometimes, feelings of depression are longer lasting and often more serious.

A mental health professional diagnoses and treats depression.   Depression is diagnosed when someone has at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling down, depressed or sad most of the day; or feeling irritable and angry
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain; a decrease or increase in appetite
  • Difficulty  sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling very nervous and hyper; or feeling sluggish
  • Fatigue or no energy
  • Feeling worthless or unnecessarily guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or indecisiveness
  • Either recurrent thoughts of death without a specific plan or a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide

If you have five or more of these symptoms, please seek help from a mental health professional immediately (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist)   for a diagnosis and proper treatment.

According to WebMD, one key protective factor of suicide is to restrict access to the methods for committing it.   It is vital for friends and family members of someone who is at risk of suicide to understand the methods commonly used.

The most common method of successful suicide among young adults is the use of firearms.   If your parents, family members, or adult friends own guns, they should take careful measures to ensure that someone with risk factors of suicide cannot get to the weapon.   Other common methods of suicide are asphyxiation, drowning, cutting arteries, overdosing on medications or illegal drugs, and carbon monoxide poisoning.  


Take any suicidal thought or threat seriously.   Even if the person seems to have the perfect life on the outside, it is impossible to know what is going on behind closed doors.   Even if you have doubts about the seriousness of a suicidal threat, you should still consider it an  emergency and take appropriate action.









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