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Teens experience pain as fast as the flip of a switch – and the speed of hurt hits them as swiftly as turning on a light.

Often, terrible situations can lead to teen suicide – but we need to be vigilant when observing changes – even small changes – in the behavior of the young people in our circles. Sometimes, events that an adult might brush off as part of the process of daily life might be viewed as catastrophic by a teen – simply because they do not yet have the coping skills in place to deal with them.

The inability to cope with life’s challenges can be a major stumbling block for today’s youth – particularly because they do not yet possess the life skills necessary to deal with the obstacles and challenges they might face.

As a society, we have hit critical mass – and we need to start talking about it. We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable and give voice to the issues facing us; teen suicide, the opiate crisis and substance abuse in general, including alcohol.

The above issues factor into what is quickly becoming the biggest public health crisis of our time. While many factors contribute to teen suicide, often the underlying issue is mental illness.

It is rare that only a single event leads to suicide – bullying or cyberbullying, for instance. But a single event can be the final straw.

As a parent, teacher, or coach, be sure to focus on building strong coping and problem-solving skills in your young people. Nurture a healthy self-esteem, and they will flourish.

If your children value themselves from a place of certainty, they will be much less likely to allow others to have power over them, including bullies.

Life is not a race. It’s about being patient in the process.

Slow down. Breathe.

Perfection doesn’t exist, but I’d still like to think I can make a perfect rack of ribs.

NOTE: The above content is Part Seven in a series based on Jeff’s new book, Teen Suicide: The “Why” Behind America’s Suicide Epidemic. Click on link to order.

CLICK HERE for Jeff’s online suicide prevention course.

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