When Depression Becomes SevereRisk Factors For Teen Suicide
- Delinquency and social problems
- Drug abuse
- A family disrupted by death
- Parental neglect
This last factor, homophobia, an irrational fear of, or discrimination against, homosexuals, is still often overlooked. As many as 30 percent of teens who commit suicide are gay. Realizing you are gay as an adolescent can be terrifying if your community, family, and friends are not supportive or act openly hostile.
Certainly, many teens have experienced one of these risk factors. So why do some turn to suicide? Susan Swedo, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) focused on identifying those teens serious about committing suicide. She found two key factors, hopelessness and a firm belief that life is not worth living. If teens believe that they have no future, suicide is a real possibility. Sometimes, friends and loved ones refuse to discuss suicide for fear of putting the idea into a person's head. Suicidal thoughts come from within; they are a reaction to great pain.