Teen Suicide: 5 Warnings Parents Should Know

Especially during the hoiday time we will hear more about suicides.  Whether it is an adult or teens, suicide it forever and the devastation of those that are left behind can be overwhelming.

Here are 5 things you need to know about teen suicide:

1. No Other Escape:  Teenagers commit or attempt to commit suicide for many different reasons. Often teens find routine problems overwhelming and see no possible positive outcome. Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend is devastating to some and problems at home such as parents’ divorce, the death of a family member or abuse can also lead to thoughts of suicide. Depression in teens leads to a focus on the negative and causes teens to emphasize their failures or perceived shortcomings. When a teen sees no way out of a difficult situation, death can seem like the only escape.
2. Be There for Support:  Kids who have someone they trust to share their suicidal thoughts with are at a lower risk of acting on them than those who feel isolated. Parents, friends, physicians and school counselors can all play a role in offering troubled teens a place to go for comfort and reassurance. When a teen mentions suicide as a seemingly viable option, she is asking for help. Express support for the teen by getting her the help she needs. After you make an appointment with a psychiatrist to evaluate the teen and assess the risk of suicide, she may decline the help and say that she no longer feels the same way. However, she should still see a professional. If she refuses to keep the appointment, the support person should go and get more information about how to help the teen. Note that thoughts of suicide can come and go for teenagers, so the risk is seldom suddenly just gone.
3. Things to Watch for : There are some warning signs people can look for to determine if a teenager is contemplating suicide. When a teen is depressed for an extended period of time then suddenly becomes carefree, pay attention. People who have made the decision to kill themselves often feel relieved at the prospect of having a way out, like a heavy burden is lifted. Listen to their words. Kids often say that they are worthless, better off dead, a terrible person or that they are going away when suicide is on their mind. They lose interest in activities that once held great importance and give away items that mean a great deal to them.
4. Speak up:  Caregivers or friends of troubled teenagers shouldn’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions about suicide. If someone believes that suicide is a possibility, they should find out if the teen has thoughts about killing himself and if he has plans to carry out those thoughts. Help from a professional is warranted anytime someone has persistent concerns about a teen. A family physician can offer a starting point for those seeking professional help and hospitals can provide a list of local psychiatrists.

5. Lock ’em up: Guns are the most common method teens use to commit suicide. Everyone should prevent children’s access to guns by locking them in a separate area from ammunition.


In Florida and Broward County we have Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention.  Learn more – be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information on residential therapy if you suspect your teen needs help.

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