Oregon teens vulnerable to suicide

Oregon teens vulnerable to suicide »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. You may surprised to know how many local teens are thinking about committing suicide.

Results from the latest Oregon Healthy Teens survey from 2013 show about one out of four Oregon teens report feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks in a row that they stopped doing some of their usual activities.

The survey also asked, "During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?"

Sixteen percent of the eighth graders participating in the survey said yes.

About fifteen percent of the eleventh graders said yes as well.

Some of the students said they actually followed through.

Eight percent of the middle school kids said they actually tried to commit suicide in the last 12 months, as did about five percent of the high school juniors.

Only a small number said they ended up going to the hospital.

The Oregon Health Authority said these are some of the warning signs for teens:

  • Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Unexplained or unusually severe, violent or rebellious behavior
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Running away
  • Persistent boredom or difficulty concentrating
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

You can see other signs here.

Kay Bruce, who directs the counseling program at Western Seminary in Southeast Portland, suggests that parents try this kind of approach with their kids.

"Asking them, 'What's tough for you to deal with right now? How do you go about handling that? And is there something I can do to help be of more support to you in dealing whatever's tough for you?'" said Bruce.

Bruce said break-ups are very tough on teens, and a number of kids have committed suicide after a relationship ended.

Other problems, she added, a recent move the teens did not want to make, being ostracized by their former friends and being humiliated at school.

Bruce recommended that you be supportive and validating, not judgmental, plus stay calm and be a good listener.

Also, she recommended that you get phone numbers ready so you can immediately call for help and give hope if your child needs it.

Here are more resources for suicide prevention, including web sites for teens.