Is My Kid at Risk for Suicide?

This week we are going to talk about suicide and self-harm among teenagers.   Much attention has been paid lately to the problem of suicide among teens and emerging adults. In my own small New England community, it seems every few weeks there is another report of the death by suicide of a young person. Working with grieving families over the past twenty years, I know well the anguish survivors feel as they cope with the heartbreak of losing a beloved child or sibling to illness or accidental death. For suicide survivors, the loss takes on a whole other level of complexity as families unravel the why and how questions inherent to suicide grief. So, what do you do if you believe your child is at risk? First, take seriously anything your child says or does to indicate she or he plans to self-harm. As the parent of a struggling teen or young adult, you are probably quite familiar with explosive outbursts of anger or periods of complete withdrawal and isolation. During these episodes, your child may be more prone to act on suicidal impulses. It is imperative that you not minimize the dire consequences of your child’s potential actions. Second, get help. Immediately. Do not be tempted to wait it out even if your child recants statements made about hurting her or himself. Your child needs to know you take this seriously. If you have access to mental health resources, mobilize them. Call your child’s therapist and ask for advice about how you can keep your child safe. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Do not be afraid to call 911 or to transport your child to your local emergency room. Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Most have trained staff who are skilled at evaluating suicide risk. For tips on dealing with an emergency room visit, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published the following excellent brochure: Remember, you are not alone. We have been in your shoes and have come out on the other side. Recovery is not only a dream it is a real possibility. Questions or comments about this topic? Let’s talk. Kathleen


About NG

Educational Consultant at Changing Tide Associates: Educational and Therapeutic Advisors
This entry was posted in anxiety, self-help, Uncategorized, wellness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is My Kid at Risk for Suicide?

  1. Anonymous says:

    The statistics on college campus suicide are staggering,:
    1,100 students die by suicide each year
    Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among students
    Nearly one half of students say they felt so depressed that they found it difficult to function in the past school year
    Roughly one in ten college students has considered suicide


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