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 1-800-273-8255 or continue below for further resources and ways to detect warning signals.
BUILDING TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS CAN PREVENT YOUTH SUICIDE
You’d be surprised to know that most teens seek a close relationship with their parents, guardians, or loved ones. By forming an open and honest relationship with your teen, you’re creating a safe space for them to reach out when they begin to feel uncertain or contemplating self-harm.
Here are some ways you can improve the communication between you and your teens:
- Provide a stable, safe physical and emotional environment.
- Be present. Spend quality time together.
- Truly LISTEN to your teens – not just the words that are said, but their actions.
- Offer support instead of judgement or dismissal of feelings.
- Lead by example – encourage and demonstrate the appropriate expression of emotions and feelings.
- Check-in with your teen often.
- Talk TO them, not AT them.
- Take any and all threats of death by suicide seriously.
- Educate yourself and your teen with self-care mental health practices.
What to say to a youth who might be struggling or in emotional distress
- If you need anything, I’m right here.
- Is there anything upsetting you?
- Do you ever feel scared, angry, lonely, or frustrated?
- I understand how you feel.
- Have you ever had harmful thoughts?
BEHAVIORS THAT MAY SIGNAL EXTREME DISTRESS AND MAY LEAD TO SUICIDE IDEATION
Often times, children that are exposed to life-threatening events, violence, or traumatic losses run a greater risk of developing depression, alcoholic/substance abuse, and death by suicide. Symptoms can appear at any moment and may signal an urgent need for resources and treatment.
Here are some examples of the warning signs you should be looking for:
- Dramatic change in personality.
- Girlfriend/boyfriend trouble.
- Difficulty getting along with friends or parents.
- Withdrawal from people who used to be close.
- Falling behind in school.
- Always bored.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Acting out in rebellious ways.
- Pregnant and finding it hard to cope.
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
- Running away from home.
- Complaints of severe headaches/stomach aches.
- Changed eating and/or sleeping habits.
- Worsening appearance.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Writing notes or poems about death.
- Talking about suicide.
- Previous suicide attempts.
- Having a friend and/or relative who has committed suicide.