About Teen Suicideenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P_TeenSuicide_enHD_AR1.jpgWhen a teen commits suicide, everyone is affected. The reasons behind a suicide or attempted suicide can be complex, but often there are warning signs.suicide, death, suicidal, depression, warning signs, risk factors, is my teen at risk for suicide, my child talks about killing herself, weapons, anxiety, support networks, physical abuse, sexual abuse, family relationships, hopelessness, my child is withdrawn, suicide resources, professional help, triggers, psychologist, psychiatrist, self-destructive, mental health, domestic violence, divorce, bequeathing possessions, firearms, psychiatry, psychology, psychiatric, psychological, developmental medicine, behavioral medicine, adolescence, adolescent medicine, general pediatrics, CD1Psychology/Psychiatry, CD1Behavioral Health03/22/200010/01/202010/01/2020Christina M. Cammarata, PhD10/01/2020e5d8251a-59a1-4497-88b5-6cb66cd2631ehttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/suicide.html/<p>Suicide is when someone dies on purpose. A young person dying because of overwhelming hopelessness or frustration is devastating to family, friends, and community. Parents, siblings, classmates, coaches, and neighbors might be left wondering if they could have done something to prevent that young person from turning to suicide.</p> <p>If you're worried about your teen or another child, take it seriously and talk to them right away. You also can turn to these resources for 24/7 help:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:</strong> 1-800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741. You also can contact them through <a href="https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/">their website</a>.</li> <li><strong>Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ community:</strong> 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678. You can also contact them through <a href="https://www.thetrevorproject.org/">their website</a>.</li> </ul> <p>These toll-free lines are staffed by people who are trained to help. The calls are confidential. If necessary, <strong>call 911</strong> for immediate help.</p> <p>Note: In 2020, the FCC established <strong>988</strong> as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. All phone service providers must direct 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.</p> <p><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/suicide.html/?view=rr"><img class="right" src="https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/whoCanHelp_enBT.gif" alt="Who Can Help" /></a></p> <h3>Why Do Teens Consider Suicide?</h3> <p>Learning more about what might lead a teen to suicide may help prevent further tragedies.</p> <p>The reasons behind a teen's suicide or attempted suicide can be complex. Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases greatly during adolescence.</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after accidents and homicide.&nbsp;</li> <li>It's also thought that many more attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.</li> <li>The risk of suicide increases greatly when kids and teens have access to firearms at home, and nearly 60% of all suicides in the United States are committed with a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/gun-safety.html/">gun</a>. That's why any guns in your home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens.</li> <li>Overdose using over-the-counter, prescription, and non-prescription medicine is also a very common risk for attempting and completing suicide. It's important to monitor carefully all medicines in your home. Know that teens will "trade" different prescription medicines at school and carry them (or store them) in their locker or backpack.</li> <li>Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cutting.html/">cutting</a> themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, and experts think this is because they tend to use more lethal methods.</li> </ul> <h3>Which Teens Are at Risk for Suicide?</h3> <p>It can be hard to remember how it felt to be a teen, caught in that gray area between childhood and adulthood. Sure, it's a time of tremendous possibility, but it also can be a period of stress and worry. There's pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly.</p> <p>Adolescence is also a time of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sexual-orientation.html/">sexual identity</a> and relationships and a need for independence that often conflicts with the rules and expectations set by others.</p> <p>Young people with mental health problems &mdash; such as <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/anxiety-disorders.html/">anxiety</a>, depression, bipolar disorder, or&nbsp;<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sleep-problems.html/">insomnia</a> &mdash; are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts. Teens going through major life changes (parents' <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/help-child-divorce.html/">divorce</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/move.html/">moving</a>, a parent leaving home due to&nbsp;<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/war.html/">military service</a> or parental separation, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/financial-crisis.html/">financial changes</a>) and those&nbsp;who are&nbsp;<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/bullies.html/">bullied</a>&nbsp;are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts.</p> <p>Things that increase the risk of suicide among teens include:</p> <ul> <li>a psychological disorder, especially <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/understanding-depression.html/">depression</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/az-bipolar.html/">bipolar disorder</a>, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/alcohol.html/">alcohol</a> and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/talk-about-drugs.html/">drug use</a> (in fact, about 95% of people who die by suicide have a psychological disorder at the time of death)</li> <li>feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation</li> <li>feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often come with depression</li> <li>a previous suicide attempt</li> <li>a family history of depression or suicide</li> <li>emotional, physical, or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/child-abuse.html/">sexual abuse</a></li> <li>lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation</li> <li>struggling with their gender identity and/or sexuality in an unsupportive family or community</li> </ul> <h3>What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?</h3> <p>Suicide among teens often happens after a stressful life event, such as problems at school, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/help-child-divorce.html/">a divorce</a>, or a major family conflict.</p> <p>Teens who are thinking about suicide might:</p> <ul> <li>talk about suicide or death in general</li> <li>give hints that they might not be around anymore</li> <li>talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty</li> <li>pull away from friends or family</li> <li>write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss</li> <li>start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends</li> <li>lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities</li> <li>have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly</li> <li>have changes in eating or sleeping habits</li> <li>engage in risk-taking behaviors</li> <li>lose interest in school or sports</li> </ul> <h3>What Can Parents Do?</h3> <p>Many teens who die by or attempt suicide have given some type of warning to loved ones ahead of time. So it's important for parents to know the warning signs so teens who might be suicidal can get the help they need.</p> <p>Even though it's not always preventable, it's always a good idea to be informed and take action to help a troubled teenager.</p> <p>Some adults feel that kids who say they are going to hurt or kill themselves are "just doing it for attention." It's important to realize that if teens are ignored when seeking attention, it may increase the chance of them harming themselves.</p> <p>Getting attention in the form of ER visits, doctor's appointments, and residential treatment generally is not something teens want &mdash; unless they're seriously depressed and thinking about suicide or at least wishing they were dead. It's important to see warning signs as serious, not as "attention-seeking" to be ignored.</p> <h3>Watch and Listen</h3> <p>Keep a close eye on a teen who is depressed and withdrawn. Understanding depression in teens is very important because it can look different from commonly held beliefs about depression. For example, it may take the form of problems with friends, grades, sleep, or being cranky and irritable rather than chronic sadness or crying.</p> <p>Try to keep the lines of communication open and express your concern, support, and love. If your teen confides in you, show that you take those concerns seriously. A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. Don't minimize or ignore what your teen is going through, as this can increase their sense of hopelessness.</p> <p>If your teen doesn't feel comfortable talking with you, suggest a more neutral person, such as another relative, a clergy member, a coach, a school counselor, or your child's doctor.</p> <h3>Ask Questions</h3> <p>Some parents are reluctant to ask teens if they have been thinking about suicide or hurting themselves. Some fear that by asking, they will plant the idea of suicide in their teen's head.</p> <p>It's always a good idea to ask, even though it can be hard. Sometimes it helps to explain why you're asking. For instance, you might say: "I've noticed that you've been talking a lot about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?"</p> <h3>How Can We Get Help?</h3> <p>If you learn that your child is thinking about suicide, <strong>get help right away</strong>. Your doctor can refer you to a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/finding-therapist.html/">psychologist or psychiatrist</a>, or your local hospital's department of psychiatry can give you a list of doctors in your area. Your local mental health association or county medical society can also provide references. In an emergency, call <strong>1-800-273-8255</strong>.</p> <p>If your teen is in a crisis situation, your local <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/emergency-room.html/">emergency room</a> can do a psychiatric evaluation and refer you to the right resources. If you're unsure about whether you should bring your child to the emergency room, call your doctor.</p> <p>If you've scheduled a visit with a mental health professional, keep the appointment, even if your teen says they're feeling better or won't go. Suicidal thoughts do tend to come and go. But your teen needs help to develop the skills needed to keep suicidal thoughts and behaviors under control during a crisis.</p> <p>If your teen won't go to the visit, tell the mental health professional. By going to the session and working with the clinician yourself, you'll maintain access to the help your child needs. The clinician also can discuss ways that might help your teen agree to get help.</p> <p>Remember that conflicts between a parent and child can make things worse for teens who feel isolated, misunderstood, devalued, or suicidal. Get help for family problems and resolve them in a healthy way. Tell the mental health professional if your family has a history of depression, substance abuse, or domestic violence. Talk about any other stresses at home, such as an ongoing environment of criticism.</p> <h3>If You've Lost a Child to Suicide</h3> <p>For parents, the death of a child is the most painful loss imaginable. For parents who've lost a child to suicide, the pain and grief can be intensified. These feelings may never completely go away. But survivors of suicide can take steps to begin the healing process:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Keep in contact with others. Suicide can be isolating for surviving family members because friends often don't know what to say or how to help. Find supportive people to talk with about your child and your feelings. If those around you seem uncomfortable about reaching out, start the conversation and ask for their help.</li> <li>Remember that your other family members are grieving too, and that everyone expresses grief in their own way. Your other children, in particular, may try to deal with their pain alone so as not to burden you. Be there for each other through the tears, anger, and silences &mdash; and, if necessary, get help and support together.</li> <li>Expect that anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays may be hard. Important days and holidays often reawaken a sense of loss and anxiety. On those days, do what's best for your emotional needs, whether that means surrounding yourself with family and friends or planning a quiet day of reflection.</li> <li>Understand that it's normal to feel guilty and to question how this could have happened. But it's also important to realize that you might never get the answers you seek. The healing that takes place over time comes from reaching a point of forgiveness &mdash; for both your child and yourself.</li> <li>Counseling and support groups can play a huge role in helping you realize you are not alone. Sometimes, bereaved family members become part of the suicide prevention network that helps parents, teenagers, and schools learn how to help prevent future tragedies.</li> </ul> <h3>Helping Teens Cope With Loss</h3> <p>What should you do if someone your teen knows has attempted or died by suicide? First, acknowledge your child's many emotions. Some teens say they feel guilty &mdash; especially those who felt they could have interpreted their friend's actions and words better.</p> <p>Others say they feel angry with the person who committed or attempted suicide for having done something selfish. Still others say they feel no strong emotions or don't know how to express how they feel. Reassure your child that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and that it's OK to talk about it when they're ready.</p> <p>When someone attempts suicide and survives, people might be afraid of or uncomfortable talking with them about it. Tell your teen to resist this urge &mdash; this is a time when a person needs to feel connected to others.</p> <p>Many schools address a student's suicide by calling in special counselors to talk with the students and help them cope. If your teen is dealing with a friend or classmate's suicide, encourage them to use resources or to talk to you or another trusted adult.</p>Acerca del suicidio de adolescentesCuando un adolescente se suicida, todo el mundo se ve afectado. Familiares, amigos, compañeros, y vecinos. Por todo ello, es importante conocer las fuerzas que pueden llevar a los adolescentes al suicidio y saber cómo ayudarlos.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/suicide-esp.html/450de8cb-d5d5-4af9-8611-5842fd56bd75
5 Ways to Cope When a Loved One DiesWe all face grief at some point. Here are 5 ideas that might help you cope when someone you love has died.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/coping-grief.html/b6c118d4-9ddd-4d45-a25c-3d790141f414
5 Ways to Help Yourself Through DepressionIt's important to take action against depression - it doesn't just go away on its own. In addition to getting professional help, here are 5 ways to feel better.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/depression-tips.html/55fdf5eb-0627-463c-94e2-a43d7822d692
CuttingIt can be hard to understand, but people who cut themselves sometimes do it because it actually makes them feel better. They are overflowing with emotions - like sadness, depression, or anger - that they have trouble expressing.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/cutting.html/33dde8f5-8c32-469a-a30f-fa40ca15efc6
CyberbullyingCyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child's life.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cyberbullying.html/f86a256a-4b24-4053-84d5-ae927619f78d
Death and GriefIf someone close to you has died, you probably feel overwhelmed with grief. Read about some things that might help you cope.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/someone-died.html/01d87622-8128-4340-9f92-6fe325b3ab7e
DepressionDepression is very common. For more information about depression and feeling better, check out this article.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/depression.html/313901c9-c72a-4f03-831b-94ab61da2856
Finding Low-Cost Mental Health CareIf you need mental health care but don't think you can afford it, you're not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free mental health care in this article for teens.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/mhealth-care.html/1d8bc05d-7696-4dda-910b-0d06f3855508
Going to a TherapistGetting help with emotions or stress is the same as getting help with a medical problem like asthma or diabetes. This article explains how therapy works and how it can help with problems.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/therapist.html/86e1241b-e507-44a8-8328-8f4ba7b631af
Gun SafetyGuns are in many homes, so they're a very real danger to kids, whether you own one or not. Learn how to talk with your kids about gun safety.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/gun-safety.html/ea8096b3-dca2-4fab-8e98-46781d010f6f
Helping Teens Who CutCutting isn't new, but this form of self-injury has been in the spotlight more in recent years. Learn more how to help a teen who cuts.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/help-cutting.html/f5c8fb47-5ee2-4954-bb28-26f15902e5f0
Helping Your Child Deal With DeathHelping kids cope with the death of a loved one can be hard, particularly as you work through your own grief. Here are some tips.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/death.html/915b54ec-3a4c-4be8-be94-af754512fe49
How Can I Help a Child Cope With a Parent's Suicide?Find out what the experts say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/effects-suicide.html/6845f8a3-fb16-4710-a982-536ab2a09eda
I'm Thinking of Suicide. How Can I Get Help?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/stop-suicide.html/202d77fc-5e8d-451a-87de-90f032f54afc
My Friend Is Talking About Suicide. What Should I Do?Have you heard that people who talk about suicide won't go through with it? That's not true. Read this article to learn some of the other warning signs that a person is considering suicide.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/talking-about-suicide.html/f8fcae3e-357d-4bb8-871e-f3c197bbae11
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Kids and teens who live through a traumatic event can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Healing is possible with the help of professional counseling and support from loved ones.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/ptsd.html/92c63abe-dcb4-4c38-9ed3-a7aaabdaea05
SuicideWe all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes. Here are the warning signs of suicide and ways to get help.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/suicide.html/0a05aa15-ecc1-4f57-a687-e486849ab43c
Taking Your Child to a TherapistMany children and teens have problems that affect how they feel, act, or learn. Going to therapy helps them cope better, feel better, and do better.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/finding-therapist.html/36c31f3c-0467-4e71-8c7e-c6274c9f2c8f
Talking to Parents About DepressionIf you feel depressed, you need to reach out for help and support. Read our tips for teens on talking to parents about depression.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/talk-depression.html/e9b2e976-c37c-4c41-82c4-90e6bffaf1ad
When Depression Is SevereSevere depression can cloud a person's thinking and lead some people to think that life isn't worth living. But severe depression can be treated. Find out what to do and how to get help in this article for teens.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/severe-depression.html/f8a6f7b0-feaf-499d-b2a1-ebdb48a21c3d
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-behavioralHealthkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-behavioralHealthBehaviorhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/emotions/behavior/ec417296-5115-48f8-9e98-400241ef0269https://kidshealth.org/EN/images/buttons/whoCanHelp_enBT.gif