“I don’t want him to be mad at me… It can’t be my kid… What’s wrong?… She has everything she wants… I just don’t understand…” Parents want to know what is going on with their children. In order to really know they have to question, listen, learn and respect the thoughts and feelings of their children. Ideally, all parents would operate in such a manner. Realistically, however, being a parent means doing the best you can knowing what you are privileged to be told. The thoughts and feelings of your children are not always expressed. You can only be there and be ready to listen, accept and love. “So what do I need to know?” Statistics representing adolescent suicide are alarming. Acknowledging the problem is difficult, but necessary. It could be your child, or one you know.
The first step is recognizing there is some concern and following up. In order to recognize the signs, you have to know what they are. In general a change in behavior or interaction is sign there is something going on. Though all adolescents don’t exhibit the same signs, there are some common factors identified with increased risk. All signs are worth recognizing.
Ideation – Is your child talking, drawing or writing about death?
Substance Abuse – Is your child experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol?
Purposelessness – Does your child exhibit purpose and planning for the future?
Anxiety – Does your child seem nervous, worried or stressed?
Trapped – Is motivation poor? Does your child express feelings of being trapped?
Hopelessness – Is there promise? Is there consideration for the future and the rest yet to come?
Withdrawal – Is there a connection with you and your child? Does he/she connect with anyone?
Anger – Does your child seem increasingly agitated or aggressive?
Recklessness – Is your child engaging in risk-taking behaviors?
Mood Changes – Have there been unusual or dramatic changes in mood or behavior?
Know it is time to do something. Acknowledge the concern and offer help. Many parents have been where you are and may feel what you feel. They know the difficulty in addressing the circumstances. They also know the potential of not doing so. Make the effort to open dialogue and communication with your teen regarding suicide.
TALK TO YOUR CHILD. PREVENTING SUICIDE IS WORTH THE DISCUSSION. LET YOUR CHILD KNOW IT IS OK AND HELP IS AVAILABLE. CALL 1-800-273-8255 24/7 FOR ASSISTANCE.
Reacting is seeking the appropriate help for your child and assisting in their immediate safety. Restrict access to lethal means by removing firearms, prescription medications or any other potential means. Actively link your child to a medical or mental health professional immediately. Stay with your child until they are linked to additional help. If you don’t know what to do, call Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, resource available 24/7 that can assist you in finding help.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area.
Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 support at your fingertips where every texter is connected with a real-life, trained Crisis Counselor that is a volunteer, donating their time to helping people in crisis. Text 741741
Families for Depression Awareness helps families recognize and cope with depressive disorders to get people well and prevent suicides. Their purpose is to help families recognize and manage the various forms of depression and associated mood disorders, reduce stigma associated with depressive disorders, unite families and help them heal in coping with depression.
Kids Health is more than just the facts about health. As part of The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media, KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional and behavioral issues that affect children and teens.
Family Education launched in 1996 as the first parenting site on the Web, FamilyEducation has become the Internet’s most-visited site for parents who are involved, committed and responsive to their families’ needs. Parents find practical guidance, grade-specific information about their children’s school experience, strategies to get involved with their children’s learning, free email newsletters and fun and entertaining family activities. FamilyEducation brings together leading organizations from both the public and private sectors to help parents, teachers, schools and community organizations use online tools and other media resources to positively affect children’s education and overall development.
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide was founded in 2005 by Scott Fritz and Don Quigley, two friends who lost teenaged children to suicide. After their losses, Scott and Don were shocked to learn that suicide was the third leading cause of death for America’s youth and were determined to do whatever they could to protect other families from the devastation of suicide.
Stop Bullying is a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provides information from various government agencies on the defining characteristics of bullying and cyber-bullying; who is at risk and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
Project Child Safe is a non profit charitable organization committed to promoting firearms safety among firearms owners through the distribution of safety education messages and free firearm safety kits.
Speaking out about Suicide is the leader in the fight against suicide. We fund research, offer educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has 75 local chapters with programs and events nationwide. Speaking out about suicide loss and suicide attempts is critical to prevention. Sharing your story lets people know they are not alone and shows them recovery is possible. If done well, you will encourage people at risk to seek help. Usafe sharing, however, can do more harm than good.