Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a health expert from the University of Missouri has identified factors that could help parents, medical professionals, and educators how to recognize teens at risk for self-injury, or worse- suicide.

 Assistant Professor Lindsay Taliafarro says some signs to look out for are depressive symptoms, feelings of hopelessness, increased anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. “Sometimes young people do not readily verbalize what they are thinking and feeling, but their feelings will definitely manifest in their behavior. If a young person is not expressing to his or her parents or another adult about what they’re feeling, but an adult has some sort of suspicion that something may be wrong, they should definitely be looking for behavioral changes,” she says.

Some of the behavioral changes include increased substance use, increased alcohol use, or running away from home. Taliafarro mentions that bullying or being bullied could also play a factor in the adolescents’ behavior that adults need to look out for. “If a young person is a bullying victim, as well as a bullying perpetrator, or increased in violent actions against others– those would be overt types of things that an adult may see in a young person. So some of the things are going to be intrapersonal and some of the things will manifest in the young person’s behavior,” she says.


AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:06)