Teen suicide: What parents need to know

Teen suicide: What parents need to know

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for U.S. teens and young adults, and one of the most complex mental health issues.

Research has shown that there are many risk factors for suicide including illness, family history, or past trauma such as abuse or neglect.

These factors can make it difficult to determine who is at risk for suicide because there is no one profile that predicts suicidal behavior.

The following points may increase your teen’s risk of suicide: -Being exposed to acts of violence -Exposure to bullying -Losing a parent or close family member -Alienation from peers -Est

Suicide prevention

If you know of someone who is thinking about suicide, do not leave this person alone. Do not discount the possibility of suicide.

Tell your teen you’re there to help.

How to talk to your teen

If you suspect your teen may be thinking about suicide, talk with them.

While it may be scary and difficult to bring up these sensitive topics, you are your child’s best advocate.

Some things to keep in mind when you talk to your teen: Be honest and direct Start with asking your teen if they’re thinking about suicide.

If you are unsure, this is a good way to find out. Be prepared If you suspect your teen has thought about suicide in the past, be sure to have other evidence, such as an old note or note posted online, to corroborate what they’ve told you.

Be specific Once you’ve talked about suicidal thoughts and warning signs, make sure to ask specific questions about what they are feeling, thinking, and planning.

Signs and symptoms of suicidal behavior

-Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs -Concern about making others mad or upsetting them -Escalation of fights -Feeling that life is hopeless -Increased use of and difficulty in making decisions -Increased use of (or feeling the need to have) guns or other methods of suicide If you think your teen may be at risk, please have a discussion with your teen(s) so that you know what you are talking about and to provide them with the mental health resources available to them.

Discuss your own history with suicide and acknowledge that the teen may have witnessed a suicide, either someone close to them or someone in their community, such as an uncle, cousin, or neighbor.

Your teen(s) can talk to a trusted teacher, friend, counselor, clergyperson, or other trusted adult.


These are just a few tips. No one method is 100% effective. It is important to know who your teen is talking to and what they are saying.

If you believe your teen is in imminent danger, call the ambulance and take them to the nearest hospital.

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