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The statistics for teenage suicide are overwhelming. Each year, thousands of children die by their own hand and parents and friends are left to wonder if there was something that could have been done to save them.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for persons between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. Out of every 100,000 children, five will choose suicide before you finish reading this.

WHY DO SO MANY TEENS KILL THEMSELVES? I don't think there's a perfect answer to this question. Teenagers, like adults, feel stress and conflicting emotions, which can leave them feeling as if there is no way out. Teenagers are also more likely to suffer from untreated depression.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY TEEN IS DEPRESSED? There are warning signs for depression.

1. Your child has changed their sleeping and eating patterns.

2. Your child withdraws from friends and family members and begins spending more and more time alone.

3. Your child's personality suddenly changes.

4. Your child cannot tolerate rewards, compliments or awards.

5. Your child complains on a regular basis of not feeling well or feeling "off" inside.

6. Your child may appear to sulk or be despondent.

7. Your child has a sudden drop in grades and/or begins cutting school.

8. Your child cannot find joy in anything, including their former hobbies, classes and friends.

Unfortunately, teenage depression is usually masked by the thought that teens are supposed to be emotional as their bodies begin to develop. This is not true. A child that exhibits huge swings in emotions that are out of character needs your attention.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP IF MY CHILD IS DEPRESSED?

1. Encourage your child to talk, to share their thoughts and feelings.

2. Listen. Don't judge. Don't try to fix things. Just listen.

3. Validate your child's thoughts. Just because you don't see the situation in the same light, doesn't mean your child isn't feeling it. Acknowledge their pain and suffering, don't minimize it.

4. Remind your child that you'll always be there, no matter what they do.

5. Keep the doors of communication open

KNOW WHEN IT'S TIME TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP If your child is not improving or feeling better about themselves, talk with them about going to visit a professional. Sometimes it helps to have an outside source for your child to work with. Remember, depression is an illness, just like any other. Sometimes, the only way it can be treated is with the help of a medical professional.