Jamie and I met 4 days after she was sent home from the hospital, following her first suicide attempt. Jamie explained to me that the day she tried to kill herself was an ordinary Wednesday. She went to school, then to choir practice, came home, ate dinner with her brother and dad and then went to her room. In her room, she started chatting online with a group of friends. The group chat took a turn when someone sent an explicit picture of a classmate who wasn’t on the group chat. This led to more illicit photos being shared. Jamie laughed along with her friends until a picture of her came through her phone.
Jamie was shocked, horrified, and had no idea who had taken the picture or how her friend had come to have it. She felt overwhelmed with shame and fear. She laid in bed that night, thoughts racing, trying to decide what to do next. Around 3 am, the thought entered her head. “Just kill yourself. Just take a bottle of pills and end it. You’re too ugly and now everyone has seen all of you. You’ll never have friends again and your parents will hate you,” the thoughts came tumbling into her mind. Without much more thought, Jamie got out of bed, went to her bathroom cabinet and removed a mostly full bottle of over the counter medication. She swallowed the entire contents and lay back down in bed.
When Jamie’s mom found her the next morning she was unresponsive. Frantically, her mother called an ambulance, who took Jamie to the nearby emergency room. Here, it was determined that Jamie was suffering the effects of an overdose and she was treated appropriately and then discharged with instructions to follow up with a WellPsyche provider for continued care.
Jamie agreed to start medication for her mood and to start seeing a therapist twice a week. At first, the thoughts of wanting to die still popped into her head from time to time. But Jamie, her therapist and psychiatrist had a “safety plan” in place, so Jamie knew exactly what to do when these thoughts appeared. After a few months, the thoughts stopped. She continued in treatment for about a year and eventually was able to stop her medication and continue therapy on an as needed basis. She told me in our last meeting, “I’m so glad I didn’t kill myself. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking. It was such an impulsive decision and I know I’m so lucky to be alive.”
Facts About Teen Suicide
- Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for people ages 10-24.
- More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
- 80%-90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years. Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides.
- Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (51%).
- Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females.