Monday, November 9, 2009

Suicide—Attempt, Threaten, Passing Thoughts

Perhaps you have noticed disturbing behavior in a friend. You can't quite put your finger on the problem, but you find yourself wondering if your friend is thinking about suicide. Your concern is worth considering, because suicide is the second leading cause of death among students today. Research confirms that a staggering sixty-five hundred teenagers die each year at their own hands - that's one every hour and twenty minutes! If your friend is exhibiting potentially suicidal behavior, now is the time to do something to make sure he or she does not follow through with that impulse. There are three degrees of severity when discussing suicide.

1. There are kids who actually attempt suicide.
If you happen to be around when someone attempts to take his or her own life, you have only one response: Call the emergency services (911 in the U.S., 999 in the U.K.). If you can't do that, find a responsible adult, and get the person to an emergency room or mental-health hospital immediately. This person needs professional help to prevent him or her from making another attempt.

2. There are kids who threaten or seriously contemplate suicide.
If you discover a suicide note or learn that a friend is seriously thinking about suicide, you must act to intervene. Contact a youth leader, minister or parent - someone who can get your friend to a Christian counseling professional. Do not leave your friend alone until he or she is in the care of a responsible adult. Threats of suicide must be regarded as potential attempts. (To be continued.)

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