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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

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.

Personal Challenges
  • 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

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 you or 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
To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional in the Indianapolis area, call 317.621.5700.

Text "IN" to 741741
Connect with a trained mental health responder quickly and easily from your phone.


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