Ethan felt like there was no point going on with life. Things had been tough since his mom died. His dad was working two jobs and seemed frazzled and angry most of the time. Whenever he and Ethan talked, it usually ended in yelling.
Ethan had just found out he’d failed a math test, and he was afraid of how mad and disappointed his dad would be. In the past, he always talked things over with his girlfriend — the only person who seemed to understand. But they’d broken up the week before, and now Ethan felt he had nowhere to turn.
Ethan knew where his dad kept his guns. But as he was unlocking the cabinet, he heard his kid sister arriving home from school. He didn’t want Grace to be the person to find him, so he put the gun back and went to watch TV with her instead. Later, when he realized how close he’d come to ending his life, Ethan was terrified. He summoned the courage to talk to his dad. After a long conversation, he realized how much his dad cared. All he could think of was how he’d almost thrown it all away.
Why Do Teens Try to Kill Themselves?
Most teens interviewed after making a suicide attempt say that they did it because they were trying to escape from a situation that seemed impossible to deal with or to get relief from really bad thoughts or feelings. Like Ethan, they didn’t want to die as much as they wanted to escape from what was going on. And at that particular moment dying seemed like the only way out.
Some people who end their lives or attempt suicide might be trying to escape feelings of rejection, hurt, or loss. Others might be angry, ashamed, or guilty about something. Some people may be worried about disappointing friends or family members. And some may feel unwanted, unloved, victimized, or like they’re a burden to others.
We all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes. But most people get through it or can put their problems in perspective and find a way to carry on with determination and hope. So why does one person try suicide when another person in the same tough situation does not? What makes some people more resilient (better able to deal with life’s setbacks and difficulties) than others? What makes a person unable to see another way out of a bad situation besides ending his or her life?
The answer to those questions lies in the fact that most people who commit suicide have depression.
Anyone who is thinking about Suicide needs to seek help to find solutions for dealing with this painful issue. This could be through a school counselor or a professional therapist or a support group. Whatever the setting, the outcome should be finding healthy outlets for overwhelming feelings. It is difficult to deal with thoughts of suicide by yourself and you don’t have to do it alone. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with thoughts about suicide and you don’t know where to turn for help, you can always start by calling Safe2Tell™ at 1-877-542-7233 (SAFE).
For additional information on Suicide, link to The Children’s Hospital website.
 The Children’s Hospital website, June 2008.