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Suicide Awareness and Prevention Tips

One of the more difficult challenges of parenting is realizing you don’t always know what your children are thinking and feeling. You may be aware suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescence, but you can’t imagine your child might become one of those statistics. When do the normal ups and downs of adolescence become something to worry about? Learning about the factors that can put a teen at risk for suicide is a good first step.

Risk Factors

  • Prior attempts and/or hospitalization. A serious mental or physical illness which significantly alters the student’s lifestyle.
  • Self-injury or destructive, risky behaviors such as jumping into traffic, cutting, or playing with guns.
  • Family member or close friend has died of suicide or if the family has a history of depression.
  • Changes in a family due to death of a loved one or diagnosis of a chronic illness.
  • Changes in physical habits, appearance, sleeping, or eating habits. Disregard for maintaining one’s appearance.
  • Threats, both direct and indirect; speaking or writing about not being around anymore. Obsession with the afterlife.
  • Changes in school performance such as missing school frequently, drop in grades, sudden office referrals.
  • Depression and no longer wanting to interact with peers; speaking about feeling helpless or hopeless.

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

How to Help Someone Exhibiting Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

There is no single cause of suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Nine out of ten people who die by suicide have a mental health condition contributing to their death. Identifying and treating mental health conditions can help prevent suicide.

Resources

If your child, or someone you know, is suffering from multiple risk factors, reach out to some of the resources in our community.