Youth Suicide

How Big is the Problem?

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens in the United States.  Even more teens attempt suicide each year.

Suicide is a larger risk than homicide.

Suicide is often preventable.

What are the Warning Signs?

Seek help as soon as possible for your child if you become aware of:

  • Extreme mood changes
  • Sudden appetite or weight changes
  • Talk about suicide, death, or wishing to ‘go away and never come back’
  • Giving away prized personal items to loved ones
  • Writing a will, planning a funeral, or creating poems, letters or art that is focused on death and dying
  • Self injury, harm to animals, or firesetting
  • Sudden decline in grades, social isolation, or antisocial behavior
  • Excessive or little-to-no sleep
  • Your child’s desire to be with someone who is deceased
  • Unexplained physical complaints

What can I do to Reduce Risk?

As a parent you can do a lot to reduce your child’s risks, even when they are not struggling:

  • Keep all firearms locked way, keep ammunition locked separately.
  • Monitor your child for signs of substance use and abuse; consider removing it from your home or monitoring it closely.
  • If your child is prescribed medications, ensure they take them correctly and keep all treatment appointments. Discuss problems with your provider, don’t just stop.
  • Insist your child spends a significant amount of time outside of his or her room.
  • If you are concerned your child may self-injure; remove objects that can be used for this from his or her room.
  • Attend to physical complaints, and seek out healthcare.
  • Get involved with school and find out if there are concerns.
  • Ask questions; find out who your child eats with, visits with, and does with free time; remember, kids need you to ask questions.
  • Model healthy coping skills, like reading, exercising and talking things out.
  • Have the courage to set limits; it’s ok to say no to any activity you feel puts your child at risk.
  • Seek professional support if your child is exposed to trauma (like a friend’s suicide, a sudden death of a loved on, or abuse).
  • Find out what you can do to monitor your child’s social media, like texting, Facebook, and internet searching.