#MythBustingMondays-Once a teen has a suicide attempt, they’ve learned their lesson

Previous suicide attempts are serious predictor of future completed suicide

A  history of one or more suicide attempts is the strongest predictor for future suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide. Almost two thirds of those who die by suicide had a previous attempt which makes it a serious risk factor.

Charles had a previous attempt that I didn’t know to classify as one.  He had told me that he took a bunch of pills and didn’t know why he did it and he was both surprised and glad he woke up the next morning.

Was that a suicide attempt? It was.

I asked mental health professionals about it to try and define it but the question stayed suspended  in the air in solitude like one of those tennis shoes dangling on a telephone wire. At the time I thought we had dodged a serious attempt. He swore he’d never do it again and was very remorseful.

No one offered me any education on the subject despite my asking and it would be a long time before I would understand that’s not how suicidal ideation works with those suffering from depression. (Not that everyone with depression has suicidal ideation or that all people who die by suicide suffer from depression.)

Since 90% of parents are unaware their child has had a suicide attempt I co-present with NIMH scientist Lisa Horowitz PhD and advocate for the implementation of the ASQ, a 4-question screening tool for 10-24 year olds for use in emergency rooms and pediatric/family practice. 

Take all suicide threats and attempts seriously. 

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What did Charles say prior to suicide to indicate his intentions?

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

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