At the Surviving the Teens / Suicide Prevention Program, we recognize that life is full of stressors for both teens and their families. A stressor is any change that upsets the balance in our lives, causing us to make an adjustment. Stress is the physical or mental tension felt in response to various stressors, or events, in our lives. The more stressors a person experiences in a given period of time, the greater the risk for illness. Stressors can also trigger depression and suicidal behaviors in some teens.
Studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of people who die from suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness. Unfortunately, less than half of these people were diagnosed or ever treated for their mental disorder. Studies also suggest that approximately half of people who commit suicide are under the influence of drugs and / or alcohol at the time of their deaths. Moreover, any sudden or chronic illness or traumatic injury can contribute to depression or psychological complications in children or adolescents.
A family history of depression, substance use and / or suicide also increases a child’s risk for depression and suicide. Identified teen stressors include: