Seriously depressed teens often think about, talk about, or make “attention-getting” attempts at suicide. But an alarming and increasing number of teenage suicide attempts are successful, so suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors should always be taken very seriously.
For the majority of suicidal teens, depression or another psychological disorder plays a primary role. Even if you’re unsure that depression is an issue, any troublesome behavior or emotion you see in your teenager is a sign of a problem. Whether or not that problem turns out to be depression, it still needs to be addressed – the sooner the better.
Self harm is typically used as a way for a youth to “release” the pain they are feeling and may involve the youth cutting themselves, burning their skin, banging their head or pulling out their hair.
While self-harm is not always a sign that a youth is contemplating suicide, it is a risk factor, as it puts the youth at higher risk of significantly injuring themselves. If the self-harm technique becomes less effective over time, this may lead to the youth contemplating or attempting suicide to eliminate their feelings of pain.
Consult a professional immediately if your child is inflicting physical harm upon himself.
- Breaking up with significant other
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Low self-esteem
- Social alienation and isolation
- Risk taking and recklessness
- Mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety
- Substance abuse or dependence (alcohol and drugs)
- Chemical imbalance that can lead to mental health disorders
Challenges at School
- Difficult transition to new school
- Failing big school assignments and tests
- A large workload and/or the stress of school
- Athletes unable to participate in their sport due to injury
- Bullying others or being bullied, in person and/or online
Challenges at Home
- Divorce in family
- Challenging family dynamics
- Death of family member or loved one
- Violence in the home
- Lack of food, clothes, a safe place to sleep
- Childhood physical/sexual abuse
- Access to lethal means such as guns, pills, etc.
- Exposure to other suicides
Protective factors help to reduce the impact of risk factors and build up your child’s resiliency. The following factors have a positive impact on your teen’s health:
- Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
- Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
- Family and community support (connectedness)
- Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
- Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
- Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation
Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline
If your child is experiencing a mental health crisis or medical emergency, call toll-free at 800.273.8255. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
Connect with Community Behavioral Health Services
For a crisis evaluation or to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional in the Indianapolis area, call toll-free at 800.662.3445.
HELPING YOUR CHILD