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Few tragedies are more devastating than suicide; those left behind are left wondering if there was anything they could have done. Suicide is a major problem for adolescents. In fact, four children under twenty commit suicide with a firearm every day in this country.

Few people realize how often these tragedies occur -- it is not often discussed. Even fewer people are aware of the signs to watch for. While the resources below are extremely helpful, they are not a substitute for a professional medical opinion.

If you fear that someone you love is considering suicide, please call a local suicide hotline (in phone book) or call a national suicide hotline IMMEDIATELY.

  • Covenant House, 1-800-999-9999
  • HopeLine, 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Boys Town, 1-800-448-3000.

    Important!American Association of Suicidology
    Founded in 1968, AAS promotes research, public awareness programs, public education, and training for professionals and volunteers in order to understand and prevent suicide. In addition, AAS serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide.

    Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    Important!Preventing Suicide
    To help prevent suicide, follow these tips suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Depressive and Manic- Depressive Association. Also, included is a description of the problem and additional resources.

    Injury Prevention 8:313-316, 9/19/2002
    Important!Study Shows Correlation Between Household Handgun Ownership and Suicide Rates
    This study, entitled "Association of rates of household handgun ownership, lifetime major depression, and serious suicidal thoughts with rates of suicide across US census regions," concludes that in regions of the U.S. with higher levels of household handgun ownership, there are higher suicide rates. The study shows that this relationship cannot be explained by differences in the prevalence of major depression or suicidal thoughts. Also published as "Household Firearm Ownership and Suicide Rates in the United States" in Epidemiology 13:517-524. (Click on September 2002.)
    Authors: Hemenway, Azrael, and Miller (Harvard School of Public Health).

    Peter Stringham M.D.
    Adolescent Violence Prevention
    This website, from an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Boston University, is a collection of facts and advice that Boston teenagers, their parents, and anti-violence specialists have taught him over the years.

    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    The AFSP is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of suicide and the ability to prevent it. The Foundation supports research, provides information, and publicizes the magnitude of the problems of depression and suicide and the need for research, prevention and treatment.

    Daily Southtown (Chicago), 4/24/2000
    Chicago Report Supports National Study on Guns, Kids and Suicide
    More than half the child suicides committed in Cook County in the last 16 years have been carried out with firearms, an ongoing study shows. The compilation of child suicide statistics reflects the findings of a similar study recently released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Evaluating and Treating Adolescent Suicide Attempters
    edited by Anthony Spirito and James C. Overholser
    This book provides a comprehensive overview of the emotional, behavioral and cognitive characteristics of adolescents who have attempted suicide. It also looks at the precursors and behavioral markers for a suicide attempt so the school counselor, youth worker, or therapist can recognize these important signals.
    Click to buy from

    The New York Times (free registration required), 10/17/1999
    Guns Used More for Suicide than Homicide
    The New York Times summarizes the 1997 National Vital Statistics Report and concludes: With the homicide rate down sharply since the early 1990s, the number of Americans who commit suicide with guns each year now far surpasses those who are killed by others with firearms, government statistics show.

    National Institute of Mental Health
    In Harm's Way: Suicide in America
    This report provides information from a variety of studies showing the increase in suicides and attempted suicides among teenagers. The site also gives information about gender differences and preventing suicides.

    Sean O'Sullivan/The Washington Post, 8/13/2000
    Little Brother Lost
    A journalist reflects on dealing with his younger brother's suicide.

    The New England Journal of Medicine 341:1583-1589, 11/18/1999
    Mortality among Recent Purchasers of Handguns
    The purchase of a handgun is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of suicide by firearm and by any method. The increase in the risk of suicide by firearm is apparent within a week after the purchase of a handgun and persists for at least six years.
    Authors: Wintemute, Parham, Beaumont, Wright, and Drake (Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California, Davis).

    National Suicide Prevention Resource Center
    SPRC is a national resource center that provides technical assistance, training, and information in order to strengthen suicide prevention networks and advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

    American Association of Suicidology, 5/4/2003
    National Suicide Prevention Week
    The theme for this year is "Competent Communities: Suicide Prevention Through Support, Research, and Practice." The website has a Community Education Packet ready for download.

    Columbia University's Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Positive Action for Teen Health (PATH)/TeenScreen
    PATH is working to close the gap between the promise of science and the unacceptably high rates of adolescent depression and suicide. Their goal is to ensure that every American teen receives a mental health check-up before graduating from high school, such as the TeenScreen® Program.

    Reuters Health/Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 12/21/1999
    Restricting Access to Guns May Be the Most Efficient Way to Help Prevent Suicide in Adolescents Under 16
    Researchers suggest that restricting access to guns may be the most efficient way to help prevent suicide in adolescents under 16, as psychiatric problems appear to play less of a role in this younger age group, according to a report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    Some Things You Should Know About Preventing Teen Suicide
    This article is specifically for parents, it provides them with facts and advice on teen suicide. It discusses the increase of teen suicide and lists signs to look for in teens possible thinking of suicide.
    Straight Talk on Suicide
    Knowledge and understanding are the keys to preventing suicide, a leading cause of death in teens. Read this article for information about suicide, including how to get help for yourself or a friend.

    CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Reports, 4/21/1995
    Suicide Among Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults -- U.S., 1980-1992
    This study provides an analysis of data from the CDC revealing disturbing trends in the frequency of youth and young adult suicide in the US. There was a dramatic increase of suicides from kids 19 and under. This increase was seen in almost all groups, regardless of race and gender. Firearm-related suicides also increased, accounting for almost 65% of suicides among those under 25 in 1992.

    Northern County Psychiatric Associates, 1/17/2001
    Suicide and the School
    An informative website from a group of psychiatrists that offers recognition and intervention for suicidal students in the school setting.

    National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
    Suicide Prevention and Depressive Disorders
    This webpage offers advice from mental health professionals on what to do before and during suicidal episodes. It also provides support from family and friends that can offer stability and restore hope. Doctors and patients who have everyday experience with depressive disorders prepared it.

    The Noodle Head Network
    Suicide: A Guide To Prevention (Video)
    This video takes a kid-friendly approach to intervening in suicide situations that teens are exposed to. It shows what to do and what not to do if a fellow teen is talking about suicide or showing warning signs. This video is also an excellent training tool for professionals who want to hone their skills in talking with kids.

    U.S. Surgeon General, 5/2/2001
    Surgeon General Releases National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
    The U.S. Surgeon General along with a coalition of public and private groups, unveiled a national blueprint of goals and objectives to prevent suicide, the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. The goals and objectives are part of an ongoing effort to develop a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

    American Psychiatric Association
    Teen Suicide
    This brochure is written specifically for teenagers who are dealing with typical teenage problems -- but may need help getting through the rough parts. It summarizes the symptoms of suicide and recent research on this important topic.

    The Tennessean (Nashville), 1/22/2002
    Teen Suicide Can Be Prevented If Signs Recognized
    This article focuses on a high school student who committed suicide with a firearm. It looks at warning signs and how his family and friends are coping.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), 7/14/2002
    The NHSDA Report: Substance Use and the Risk of Suicide Among Youths
    This report, based on the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, estimates that 3 million American youth aged 12 to 17 thought about or tried to commit suicide in 2000. Of the nearly 3 million youth aged 12 to 17 who thought about suicide during 2000, 37 percent actually tried to kill themselves.

    Oregon Health Division
    The Oregon Plan for Youth Suicide Prevention
    The United States Surgeon General has declared suicide a serious public health concern and has issued a call to action for each state to implement suicide prevention strategies. The Oregon Health Division has developed prevention strategies derived from evidence-based research, public input, and recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention.
    Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide
    An informative site for parents to help them recognize trouble signs and take action to help their child.

    Light for Life Foundation International
    Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
    Throughout the U.S. and 47 countries, chapters, schools, and organizations use this powerful program that is aimed at preventing teen suicide. The website offers resources, advice for parents and teens, an updated list of events, and a list of local chapters of Yellow Ribbon, all of which may help save the lives of unhappy teens.

    HHS, CDC, NCIPC, and the Public Health Service, 9/1/1992
    Youth Suicide Prevention Programs: A Resource Guide
    This resource guide was developed to describe the rationale and evidence for the effectiveness of various youth suicide prevention strategies and to identify model programs that incorporate these different strategies. The guide is for use by persons who are interested in developing or augmenting suicide prevention programs in their own communities.

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    Please note: Common Sense and its endorsing organizations do not necessarily endorse all content stemming from the links provided in this page. All resources in these web pages are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Advice and opinions on mental health and other medical issues should be obtained through consultation with a licensed and trained professional.

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