Be aware. Act accordingly.
Let’s face it, being the parent or guardian of a teenager is tough work – but it’s also one of the most rewarding responsibilities in life. We understand how upsetting it can be when your child is facing anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide and self-harm, but know that you aren’t alone in finding help.
If you believe your child has attempted or is planning a death by suicide, please call 988 or continue below for further resources and ways to detect warning signals.
BUILDING TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS CAN PREVENT YOUTH SUICIDE
It may come as a surprise, but the majority of teenagers actively desire a close and trusting relationship with their parents, guardians, or loved ones. By fostering an environment of openness and honesty, you create a safe space where your teen feels comfortable reaching out during moments of uncertainty or when contemplating self-harm.
Building a strong foundation of communication and trust involves actively listening, offering non-judgmental support, and encouraging your teen to express their thoughts and emotions. When teens feel understood and accepted, they are more likely to confide in their parents or guardians during challenging times.
Remember, nurturing a healthy relationship involves ongoing efforts, but the benefits of creating a supportive and open connection can be profound, especially when it comes to addressing sensitive issues such as mental health concerns.
Signs of Distress and Suicide Risk in Youth
It’s crucial to be vigilant for behaviors that may signal extreme distress and could potentially lead to suicidal ideation, especially in children who have been exposed to life-threatening events, violence, or traumatic losses. Recognizing these warning signs is essential for early intervention and support. Here are examples to be aware of:
- Dramatic Change in Personality: Sudden and significant shifts in behavior or demeanor.
- Relationship Issues: Trouble with a girlfriend or boyfriend, difficulty getting along with friends or parents.
- Social Withdrawal: Pulling away from people who were once close, isolating themselves.
- Academic Decline: Falling behind in school, expressing disinterest or struggling to focus.
- Boredom: Persistent feelings of boredom and disengagement.
- Difficulty Concentrating: Struggling with focus and attention.
- Rebellious Behavior: Acting out in ways that defy authority or societal norms.
- Pregnancy Struggles: Difficulty coping with pregnancy-related stress.
- Substance Abuse: Abusing drugs and/or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
- Running Away: Escaping from home, attempting to distance themselves.
- Physical Complaints: Expressing severe headaches or stomach aches.
- Changed Eating/Sleeping Habits: Alterations in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Deteriorating Appearance: A noticeable decline in personal grooming or hygiene.
- Giving Away Possessions: Disposing of prized possessions without apparent reason.
- Expressions of Death: Writing notes or poems that allude to death.
- Talk of Suicide: Verbalizing thoughts about suicide.
- Previous Suicide Attempts
- Family History of Suicide
If you observe these signs, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. Reach out to mental health professionals, counselors, or hotlines that specialize in suicide prevention to provide timely assistance and support.