What can parents do about teen suicides?

A lot of teens who try to commit suicide or die by suicide give warning signs beforehand. That is why it is so important to talk about this and for parents and schools to know the signs. While not every suicide can be prevented a lot more could be if more people undertook some kind of suicide prevention training or at least educated themselves. They are not attention seekers to be ignored. That is not the right action to take. Speaking of suicide will not give them the idea to do it. Here is what a parent can do.

Listen to them and watch them

Teens have a hard time with a lot of emotions and moodiness already. But you need to watch them and listen to them because sometimes their problems are more than the usual teen angst. Problems with friends, not sleeping well, being irritable, and dropping grades are more likely signs to look out for than a teen who is sad and crying a lot. Learn the warning signs of suicide and keep communicating with them. Give your worry without put-downs, offer your presence, and keep telling them you love them.

If they communicate with you, listen and take them seriously. You might not think much of school problems or a fight with a friend, but these things can be all-consuming and everything to a teen. Parents need to avoid minimizing their teen’s emotions as that makes their feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness even worse. If you cannot get them to chat, question if there is someone they will go to. A teacher or counselor at school, a relative, a church member, a coach and so on.

Ask your teen questions

It is okay to ask them questions. This is the best place to head with them even though it is difficult. You can say that you have noticed something, for example, they are writing a lot of poems about death, and you want to ask them if they are having thoughts about suicide.

Look for help in several places

You can get help from different sites online where you can also learn about suicide prevention training. These are places where there is also an outline of resources and who you can turn to for help for your teen. Talk to your family doctor to get them a referral to a mental health professional. If you think the danger is more immediate take them to the ER. There are different phone numbers you can call as well for yourself and for your teen. Talk to them about the warning signs of suicide you have seen. It is possible when you have a scheduled appointment with a professional that your teen will not want to go. Even if those thoughts have gone they should still talk to someone and learn some skills to help them if it should happen again. Tell the professional if the teen is refusing and they might be able to help.

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