Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Surviving Teen Suicide Attempt the Subject of Novel and Web Site

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According to Dr. Susan Vaught 98% of the teens that attempt to kill themselves actually survive. Many are left with serious disabilities and a long struggle to reintegrate themselves back into their family, school, and community. Dr. Vaught has just written a novel about one teen’s failed suicide attempt (Stay Alive) and developed a web site that provides an online resource for teens, parents, educators and the media about risk factors, warning signs, and prevention of teen suicide.

There is a very strong link between depression and suicide. Teens experiencing stress or loss, and those who have attention, learning, conduct, or anxiety disorders are at a high risk for depression. Depression also runs in families. Every parent ought to know the warning signs of depression. Although most signs of depression are not cause for immediate panic, if one or more of these signs persist, parents should seek help (see below).

Warning signs of depression
• Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
• Frequent sadness or crying
• Feelings of hopelessness
• Persistent boredom or low energy
• Frequent absences from school, poor academic performance, or changes in grades or attendance
• Discussion of, or efforts to run away from home
• A major change in sleeping or eating problems
• Social isolation, poor communication
• Low self-esteem and guilt
• Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
• Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
• Thoughts or expression of suicide or self-destructive behavior

Where to get help
National Suicide Prevention
• Family doctor
• Insurance company or Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Photo Credit: Cristiane Sousa
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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