Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 10-24-year-olds. In national surveys, almost 20 percent of high school students reported thinking about suicide. Contrary to myth, talking to your child about suicide does not encourage your child to commit suicide. We can’t afford to ignore the topic with our children’s lives at stake as we may be able to help prevent suicide in our own family or in others by recognizing warning signs. Although warning signs may not always be present, they are present more often than not.Know Your FACTS:Feelings – feelings of hopelessness, anger, worthlessness, emptiness, anxiousness, or excessive worry
Actions – actions including trying to get access to a gun or pills, risky or dangerous behaviors, increasing drug or alcohol use, getting into fights, making plans/final arrangements, writing or drawing about death.
Changes – change in mood, attitude, or behaviors (becoming more withdrawn, quitting activities, skipping classes, change in grades, change in habits).
Threats – threats or verbal statements such as 1) I’m tired of living. 2) I’m going to kill myself. 3) You won’t have me around much longer to bother you. Other statements made in social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Situation(s) – situations may serve as a trigger for suicide. Your child’s coping skills may be challenged, and therefore, he/she may not see a viable solution. Situations that may cause added stress include: loss (family divorce, health problems, economic problems)or death; getting in trouble at home, school or with the law; a break-up such as with a boyfriend/girlfriend; impending changes or uncertainty for your child.
Talk to your son/daughter in a calm and non-accusatory way; interact in positive ways
Encourage your child to come to you when he/she (or one of his/her friends) is having thoughts of hurting or killing him/herself
Let him/her know you care about and love him/her
Convey how important he/she is to you
Focus on your concern for his/her well-being
Make statements that convey you have empathy for his/her stress
Recognize when you need to seek professional help for your child
In cases of emergency, dial 911 or go to a hospital.
Most area mental health hospitals provide a free suicide risk assessment to assist in determining the level of care your child may need.
Some area resources available to your family include:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255)
suicidepreventionlifeline.orgRed Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio1-888-628-9454prevenciondelsuicidio.org