Preventing Teen Suicide
Preventing teen suicide and self harm
Children and adolescents are impulsive. When they are frustrated, angry or fearful they may act out or feel hopeless. This is dangerous. As parents, you must be alert to the possibility that your troubled child or adolescent may purposely harm him or herself.
Do NOT take this lightly
Do NOT ignore or underestimate the youth’s ability to up the ante if you are changing the house rules, putting into place a challenging Behavior Management System, setting new limits, or restraining yourself from getting into familiar power struggles. You, as parents, must collaborate and agree to support one another in this process. Talk with your child, be understanding, do not blame, preach or threaten.
What to Watch For
Be alert for warning signs:
- talking or joking about self harm
- statements of hopelessness
- sudden mood changes
- messages of “goodbye” to you or others
- self destructive behaviors (cutting, drugs, etc)
- risk-taking behaviors (walking in traffic, sitting on window sills, jumping off things)
- obsession with knives
- stockpiling pills
What to Do If You’re Concerned About Your Child’s Safety:
When you see the above warning signs…
- assure your youth that he or she is not alone
- create a safe environment and eliminate unsafe situations (remove weapons etc.)
- observe behaviors, actions, watch for symptoms
- know who to call (therapist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, trusted friends, family)
- stay in touch with people who support you
- if you feel that they are in imminent danger of attempting suicide, or if they have made an attempt, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room
With the support and guidance of caring professionals, friends and family, you are more likely to be able to give your child the support he or she needs, when he or she needs it.