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Suicide: A dirty little secret

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, the youth suicide rate nearly tripled between 1952 and 1995 nationwide. Youth suicide probably is underreported because of social stigma, shame, and guilt among family and friends.

It is important to understand that any talk, mention or insinuation of wanting to kill oneself or wanting to not be here should be taken very seriously and not kept a secret. Too many times our young people will keep this information a secret and then a teenager ends up dying.

It is never a secret; people do die because other teens have not known how serious this message was.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

For a complete listing of warning signs please visit visit the American Association of Suicidology by clicking here.

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking of wanting to hurt or kill oneself

  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means

  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary

  • Increased drug or alcohol use

  • Withdrawing from family, friends and society

  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes

Where can I go and get help?

If you have questions about suicide or suicide threats please do not hesitate to contact your child's school social worker or school psychologist. For a listing of community resources and crisis intervention service information, click here.

Where can I get more information?


crisis chat web siteCrisis Chat

Confidential, anonymous on-line chat for support in a difficult time. A place to talk about any type of problem or stress, including family or relationship problems, depression, anxiety, or if you are worried about a friend. Crisis Chat specialists will listen without judgment and help you figure out your best options.



Are you feeling desperate, alone or hopeless? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The lifeline is a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you. Call for yourself or someone you care about. It is free and confidential. A network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide is available 24/7.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has been at the forefront of a wide range of suicide prevention initiatives, each designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. We are investing in groundbreaking research, new educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects and critical policy work. And we are expanding our assistance to people whose lives have been affected by suicide, reaching out to offer support and offering opportunities to become involved in prevention. With a suicide attempt estimated to occur every minute of every day in the United States and more than 34,000 lives lost each year, the importance of AFSP's mission has never been greater, nor our work more urgent.

Founded in Australia in 1992, this organization helps teens get through tough times. It features real stories from teens. Reach Out has also toured more than 300 schools throughout rural and regional Australia to get the word out. Australia has seen a 56 percent reduction in youth suicide rates since Reach Out's inception.