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Is Your Child Contemplating Suicide?

Warning signs of suicide that parents and family members should know.

Even in the most open families, teens may still be hesitant to tell their parents they are depressed or thinking about suicide. However, an estimated 80 percent of individuals who attempt or commit suicide give out signs. Following are warning signs of suicide to watch for from the National Youth Prevention Commission:

  • depressed mood;
  • substance abuse;
  • frequent episodes of running away or being incarcerated;
  • family loss or instability, significant problems with a parent;
  • expressions of suicidal thoughts, or talk of death or the afterlife during moments of sadness or boredom;
  • withdrawal from friends and family;
  • difficulties in dealing with sexual orientation;
  • no longer interested in or enjoying activities that once were pleasurable;
  • unplanned pregnancy; and
  • impulsive, aggressive behavior, frequent expressions of rage.

Daniel Hoover, PhD, a psychologist with the Adolescent Treatment Program at The Menninger Clinic adds that extreme distress over the breakup of a relationship, or conflict with friends, may also be a warning sign of suicide. If you suspect your child may be contemplating suicide, treat it seriously. Ask directly if he or she is considering suicide and whether he or she has made a specific plan and has done anything to carry it out. Then, get professional help for your child from a psychologist, therapist, primary care doctor, community mental health provider or call a suicide hotline or local crisis center. If your child has a detailed plan or you suspect he or she will commit suicide, seek help immediately, taking your child to a hospital emergency room if necessary.

more: Detailed info on suicide and how to support a suicidal person

Sources:

  • Menninger Clinic press release

 

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next: Getting Help to Deal with Aftermath of Suicide Attempts

Last Updated: 19 March 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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