Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people 10 to 24 years old. Families need to know the warning signs and be ready to help their children.
Know that it’s OK to ask about suicide.
If you are concerned about your child, ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. Studies have shown that asking about suicide will not “put the idea into their head.” In fact, it could open the door to an honest conversation about their mental health.
Make sure kids know it’s OK to talk about suicide.
Raise the topic in a calm, non-judgmental way to help them feel safe sharing their thoughts and feelings. Here are tips for opening the conversation.
Don’t wait to seek professional help.
If you see signs that your child might be considering suicide, get in touch with your family pediatrician right away to find mental health resources and support. If you need immediate support, call, text or chat with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Your child may find it easier to talk with health professionals from the comfort of home. For teens especially, online health appointments should take place in a private space, which may help them speak more freely. Telehealth visits are also a convenient way to make sure young people get the timely, ongoing support they need.
If you are unsure about what to do or need immediate support, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. This lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the United States.
-Exerpted from the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org Teen Suicide Risk: What Parents Should Know. Information was updated with the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Another resource for parents with additional links: 12 Things Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Suicide