Suicide is the taking of own life which is a “tragic reaction to stressful life situations (Suicide and suicidal thoughts, 2015).” The national institute of health reported ages 10-24 year olds in 2014 was the second leading cause of death with a total count of 5,504 deaths in the US (Advancing research to prevent youth,n.d.). Erickson’s stages of development for the adolescent shows the teen must successfully concur the two stages of development – identity vs. identity confusion and intimacy vs isolation (Miller, 2017). Teens who are struggling with the first and second stage will become socially isolated (Miller,2017). Erikson’s theory predicts “when adolescents are unable to successfully answer the questions of identity during this stage of development, they may experience feelings of inadequacy and despair, which can eventually lead to depression (Miller,2017). Depression left untreated can lead to suicide.
Health professionals can utilize primary, secondary, and tertiary methods to help with health prevention of suicide. “ Primary suicide prevention aims to reduce the number of new cases of suicide in the general population. Secondary prevention aims to decrease the likelihood of a suicide attempt in high-risk patients and Tertiary suicide prevention occurs in response to completed suicides and attempts to diminish suicide contagion (Ganz, n.d.).”
In general, if a true emergency is occurring 9-1-1 should always be the first line to call for help. When teens are struggling through thoughts of despair and potential suicide the communities do have resources to reach out to. As followed are some of the resources: Transitional Age youth support- Mental health services: (360)918-7860; Crisis Line: (360)586-2800; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800)273-Talk (community youth services, n.d.).
As the nurse it is our duty to obtain a precise assessment of the teen through thorough questions and observations. The nurse should be mindful of some risk factors which place this age group at higher risk are as followed: a previous suicide attempt, mental disorders- schizophrenia/social anxiety, substance abuse, abused or mistreated, history found in family, hopelessness, lack of social support, access to means or methods for suicide (Preventing Teen Suicide, n.d.). A main nursing intervention in assisting a suspected depressed teen is to show active listening and presence.
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