Teen Suicide Prevention and Helpful Resources

Recognizing Warning Signs

Both the well-being and happiness of your teenager are extremely important, one of the most vital components of supporting them is being able to identify and acknowledge the signs that may exhibit they are struggling with suicidal thoughts. These signs can be put into 3 main categories, behavioral changes, situational cues, and emotional indicators. A few common examples of signs in each category include

Behavioral changes:

  • Significant changes in their sleeping habits.
  • Substance use.
  • Neglecting their physical appearance/hygiene.
  • Significant decrease in their academic performance.
  • Irritability/Moodiness.
  • Changes in their eating habits.
  • Withdrawing from social interactions.
  • Conversing about/indicating thoughts of self-harm/suicide

Emotional Indicators:

  • An increased feeling of hopelessness 
  • A lack of self-esteem/having discouraging thoughts.
  • Feelings of being trapped.
  • Feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Situational cues:

  • Situational cues can include significant changes in their lives such as
  • Losing a loved one.
  • Moving.
  • The ending of a serious/long-term relationship.
  • Family issues.
  • Divorce.
  • Traumatic events.

 These signs can be difficult to identify due to them varying in severity and the fact that they typically differ from person to person; one person may exhibit more signs than another which reinstates the necessity of being able to recognize them and acting quickly.

Creating a Supportive Environment With Open Communication

Creating a supportive environment is another key component in supporting your teenager to the best of your ability. Creating a space in which they can comfortably communicate their feelings without being judged especially in their own home can allow them to reach out for help when they need it but also allow for you as a parent to discuss/suggest certain things; though this relationship most definitely has to be developed over a period of time it can be extremely beneficial to both you and your teenager. It is important to emphasize the fact that they can seek help when necessary and that you are there for them. Another important thing to practice is avoiding the minimization of their feelings; oftentimes we as humans, immediately rush to fix things or make them better by saying things such as “Just stay positive” or “You can do it. Keep pushing forward.” but instead saying something along the lines of “How can I be there for you?” has been seen to be significantly more impactful.

Intervention and Helpful Resources

In times of struggle, having access to the right resources and mental health professionals can make all the difference in getting support to teenagers who may be at risk. There are countless amount of resources made to support and help individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts, ranging from hotlines to in-school support. I’ve included links to specific websites and crisis hotlines for easy access as well as a more in-depth elaboration of how in-school and mental health professionals can play a role in supporting your teenager.

  • 988: This is the national suicide prevention lifeline, offering support 24/7 in both Spanish and English.
  • 1-877-870-4673: A prevention lifeline, offering support 24/7. They are available by call, chat, and text. https://samaritanshope.org/ This is a link to their organization’s website for more information.
  • 1-866-488-7386 : https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ , made to provide support to LGBTQ+ members. Available 24/7 by chat, call and text.
  • In-school/community support: There are key resources such as counselors and in-school therapists who are there to aid in recognizing and addressing mental health issues in teens. They provide an environment in which students can comfortably discuss their feelings and help guide them to the right resources/help they might need. Outside of school counselors, there are several other community-based areas that provide different forms of support including educational programs, counseling, and more.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *