Moore says at its core, suicide is problem solving. She said teens idealize suicide as the solution to their problems because, unlike most adults, teens aren’t able to understand that the problem of the moment will pass.
In fact, Moore said when teens are surveyed, nearly 80 percent of them have talked about the topic of suicide, but for adults the topic is discussed less.
Moore said it’s important to encourage problem solving during childhood. Exposing children to small problems and letting them work through age appropriate conflict will make them better equipped to deal with larger problems as teenagers.
It is also important for teens to be surrounded with influential adults who can aid the teen in decision making simply by being present, she said. This proximity of mature brain and developing brain helps teens develop stronger decision-making and reasoning skills.
As adults help to guide teens in developing these skills, Moore said it’s important that parents not engulf the teens. She said teenagers want to have their own thoughts and emotions, and parents should give teens the room to have those. When a teen feels engulfed by a parent, the teen is less apt to communicate thoughts and feelings, according to Moore.
When a suicide happens, Moore said there is a desire to know why it happened. That desire is a form of grief, but Moore said nothing makes suicide make sense. She said the real desire is really for the pain of loss to go away and the best way for that to happen is to accept the loss and try to move forward.
Audio captured by Naylene Frunk