Risk group: Teenage suicide
Polina, my friend’s 16-year-old daughter, climbed onto the roof of a 17-story building, drank half a bottle of champagne for courage and stepped over the side. She did not want to live, because the young man with whom she was in love abandoned her. Excellent student, clever, sportswoman - she could not cope with the first serious loss in her life.
Her despair turned out to be stronger than the brilliant future planned for years to come: studying at a prestigious university, working in the specialty that Polya had dreamed of all her life. At that moment, she did not think that she could fall in love again, start a family, give birth to a child. She did not remember her parents, grandparents, who did not look for souls in her ...
Alas, the history of Polina is not an exception, but a rule: at the beginning of this year a wave of teenage suicides swept across Russia, about which much was written in the media. But this surge is not a surge at all: the high mortality rate of young people from suicide is the norm for our country. Thus, according to a study conducted by UNICEF and Gosstat (“Youth in Russia, 2010”), in 2009, 30 young men and 8 girls aged 15 to 19 committed suicide per 100 thousand people. This is almost 4 times higher than in Europe. Pavel Astakhov, the Commissioner for Children's Rights in Russia, estimates this as follows: “This is not an epidemic of suicide, it is a state tragedy.”
Each of us is sure that his child will definitely not try to take his own life, and such a thought will not occur to him. The bad news is that there is not a single young man who does not have the idea of suicide. According to UNICEF, 45% of Russian girls and 27% of young men admitted that they thought about committing suicide. “All adolescents are a risk group, even the most prosperous can end up in an unbearable life situation from his point of view,” confirms psychiatrist and psychotherapist Elena Vrono. “Often he doesn’t want or is afraid to share his experiences with adults, being left alone with a sense of his uselessness and hopelessness.”
The reasons why teenagers decide on suicide are obvious: unrequited love, conflicts with parents and peers, fear of the future, loneliness ... We adults experience the same problems, of course, adjusted for age. But not for each of us they (these experiences) are so unbearable that we decide to die. What happens to our children when they begin to grow up?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Yesterday - an open sociable child who shared his feelings with us. But after a few months, he suddenly turns into a taciturn subject who constantly dares and rejects any hint of adult help. Look back at yourself at that age. And you must admit that the period of adolescence is not the happiest time in life.
“This is a terrible time for a teenager,” recalls Elena Vrono. “It’s hard for him to cope with life, he is becoming completely unbearable for himself and his parents.”
The teenager does not yet understand what is happening to him; he lacks vocabulary to express his feelings. “When I ask adolescents to compile a small dictionary of words that describe different emotional states, I get meager lists,” says Elena Sazonova, psychologist, head of the psychological service at a Moscow gymnasium. “If it contains 10-15 words, this is a very good result, but more often they are much smaller.”
If your child so quickly matured had the opportunity to speak out, he would talk about how hard he lives. It was during this period that he first experienced loneliness. “Feeling his autonomy, he comes to the realization of his limb, very keenly experiencing such a collision with death,” says Jungian analyst Maria Lomova. - During this period, puberty occurs, the body is changing rapidly. As a result, there is a craving for communication with peers of the opposite sex. All the inconsistency of these conditions gives rise to intense feelings in a teenager. ”
He doesn’t need much to make a suicidal attempt, Elena Vrono believes: “Excellent students and team mates, smart and stupid - they are endowed with properties that make them vulnerable in situations of any psychological stress: impulsiveness, instability of self-esteem, extreme emotional imbalance, tendency to depressive reactions in standard situations. " In addition, extreme social incompetence, exaggerated by the idea of their capabilities, uncriticality in relation to themselves and inability to anticipate the consequences of their actions - is a fertile ground for reflection on how to try to die. Adolescents have not yet formed an idea of the value of human life - their own and others. “He considers it acceptable to risk his head,” the psychiatrist continues. “In order to prove his innocence, punish the offender, take revenge or achieve what is desired.”
It is very difficult for parents to recognize the real danger of teenage suicide. “For others, his suicidal behavior is often unexpected,” explains Elena Vrono. “After all, the reason, from the point of view of an adult, is insignificant.” Moreover, it is impossible to prepare for his impulsive step, when under the influence of emotions, in a state of affect, he makes a suicide attempt. But there are several symptoms, having noticed which, we must begin to act - subtly and delicately.
WORTH PAYING ATTENTION:
• If your child has changed dramatically: yesterday he was a talkative, sociable teenager, and today he has become withdrawn and silent.
• If he suddenly began to study worse.
• If he has lost interest in life, a taste for habitual pleasures.
These are often symptoms of depression. Pushing a teenager to suicide may be that he ceases to feel the support of his relatives. “He may feel superfluous in the family, while the attitude of his parents to him has not changed dramatically,” says Elena Vrono. “He really needs your support!”
What to do?
Be careful what sites your child is on. If he left his computer off, be sure to look at the screen. “When you talk with a teenager who survived after a suicide attempt, it turns out that he hinted to adults about his intention to die,” says Elena Vrono. - They usually say: "Well, I warned them, once left a draft note on the table" or "I studied suicide sites and did not turn off the computer - I did it on purpose, was it incomprehensible?" Alas, we are missing these hints.
Long intimate conversations of parents are more likely to alienate the child. “Show sincere interest in him,” the psychotherapist continues, “invite him to share the pleasure of working together with you.” He may refuse, do not take it to heart. Your child should know that you absolutely need him. He must feel his indispensability in the family from the first second of his stay on earth ...
... Pauline survived a suicide attempt. For months she was bedridden, lying on a stretch of the spine, he was broken in three places. She admits: "How stupid I was that I did it."
Some tips from the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Elena Vrono.
IN THE CONDITION OF THE AFFECT
At the slightest threat to commit suicide, torn from the lips of your child, you need to immediately believe him and stop the quarrel. Make concessions, leaving aside your parental ambitions. It is important to prevent acts committed in a state of passion. If you do not believe the child, he may try to commit suicide. Yes, then he will blackmail you. But this is better than mourning him.
Stop believing that a teenager is worried about nothing. Failures in love, betrayal of friends, he experiences as acutely as we adults.
Be attentive and interested in any of your child’s creative experiences. Since he lacks words, using images to express himself is much easier. Creativity Therapy is one of the most effective ways to help with a psychological crisis.
According to statistics, boys are 3 times more likely to become victims of suicide than girls.
“Boys at this age are less stable than girls,” explains school psychologist Elena Sazonova. - They are hostages of stereotypes, because since childhood they have been educated that real men do not cry. The norms are such that an open expression of their emotions for boys is prohibited. ”
Life in the virtual space
We spend more and more time in the virtual world than in the real one. This imbalance leaves an imprint on our children's identity. “Teenagers who grew up in computer games are under the illusion that any move can be undone, return to the starting point, start all over again,” explains Madrudin Magomed-Eminov, professor, head. Department of Extreme Psychology (Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University named after MV Lomonosov). - They live with the feeling that life is endless, any level of the game can be overcome from the second attempt. They have no understanding that leaving life is an irreversible step. Spending most of his life in virtual reality, the teenager is as if alienated from his own physicality. He has a need for acute experiences in which his body must be involved. A desire is born to test the strength of reality and oneself. ”
Among the diverse youth subcultures, there are several who, to one degree or another, beat the topic of death.
READY | The ideology of this movement romanticizes death, hence the theme of pain, torment, and also mainly the black colors of clothing. Ready is characterized by a depressive state, melancholy and indifference to everything that happens.
The average age is ready - 15−19 years.
EMO | Expression of emotions is the main rule for emo kid. The representative of this subculture is a vulnerable, depressed person. It is believed that he is at even greater risk of suicide than the Goth. Emo stands out from the crowd with a striking appearance. Both boys and girls can let their eyes down with a black pencil, black polish on the nails
The average age of emo is 12-18 years.