September 10 is the first World Suicide Prevention Day. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death for people of all ages around the globe.
For teens, this can mean a lot of things. Some teens have considered ending their own life, others have lost a friend or family member to suicide. It's important to remember that having complicated feelings after losing someone is totally normal. It's also important to remember that depression is a treatable mental illness and that seeking professional help can be extraordinarily... well... helpful.
It can also be helpful to read books about other teens going through a similar experience. Check out some of these titles featuring teens considering, recovering from or affected by suicide.
In All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Finch and Violet meet on a ledge atop the school's bell tower as they both consider jumping. Instead, they become friends and then fall in love as Violet starts to feel better and Finch does not. My favorite thing about this title is the way it explores how—no matter how much we might try to change things—we are not responsible for the choices of others. Sweet and sad, it will linger long after you finish.
In The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan., Leigh travels from the United States to Taiwan in the wake of her mother's suicide to spend time with the grandparents she's never met. Convinced that her mother has been reincarnated as a great red bird, Leigh looks for symbols and meaning in the world around her. This beautifully written title is just the right mix of magic and realism and it bravely confronts the complicated emotions that come after the suicide of a parent.
In The Memory of Light by Fransisco X Stork, Victoria Cruz wakes up in the psychiatric ward of a Texas hospital after a failed suicide attempt. In spite of herself, she makes friends with the other patients and starts to find meaning in her life again. This title deals entirely with the recovery from a suicide attempt and the process of tackling the depression that led to it. It's real and hopeful without feeling preachy, and it acknowledges that nothing is ever fixed over night.