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Teen Suicide: What Every Parent Needs to Know


Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15-to-24 age group.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15-to-24 age group.
©iStockphoto.com/aldomurillo

It's one of those truths we'd rather not think about, let alone deal with in any remotely personal way. Suicide is hard enough; teen suicide is just about unimaginable, and most of us like to think it could never happen to someone we love.

It does happen, though, thousands of times every year. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15-to-24 age group (behind car accidents and homicide), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Besides ending a life that had barely begun, it offers the additional horror of possible preventability. Those left behind are often wracked with guilt -- what could we have done differently? Did we ignore the signs?

Most teen suicides are, in hindsight, somewhat predictable -- if you know what to look for. That predictability is a good thing. It means that knowledge can go a fair distance toward prevention. Here, some facts about teen suicide that every parent should know, beginning with the underlying causes: Among the teen population, who is most at risk?


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