Protect Your Child: Suicide rate among youths is rising

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new report showing an 8% rise in suicide among youths, the largest one-year increase in 15 years. Additionally, teen suicides by hanging/suffocation and poisoning have risen dramatically. The news is a somber reminder of the importance of youth suicide-prevention efforts. Read on for information about the warning signs, treatment and support options available to teenagers who may be suicidal and the parents who want to help them.

Prevention and Awareness

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers, and 20% of high schoolers have suicidal thoughts. But how can a parent tell the difference between a moody phase and something more serious? If your teen gives away his favorite possessions and expresses feelings of hopelessness, he may be suicidal. Read on for more signs:

Getting Help for Your Teen

Treatment for depression usually consists of psychotherapy and medication. There are many different types of therapy and drugs, however, and it's essential that you and your child understand all the options. Your child's doctor may recommend individual therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. Determining the right antidepressant and dosage for your child may also take the doctor several months and different prescriptions. Get the facts:

Circle of Friends

Neither you nor your child should go through this alone; both of you need support. It's important to remember that you and your teen should each seek out support from your own peers. While your child may feel most comfortable talking to a friend or another teenager who has also suffered from depression, you may find the strength, reassurance and perspective you need only from other parents who've gone through something similar with their own children. Find out more:

Get a list of suicide resources

Identifying depression in children

How to detect and avert suicidal behavior in teens

Depression in teens: Your top 8 questions answered

Questions to ask your child's doctor

Video: Understanding antidepressants

Psychotherapy and medication: Know the treatment options

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