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Adolescents experience many life stressors as they transition from child to adult, and it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between depression or suicidal intention and normal teenage moodiness.

Making things even more complicated, suicidal teens do not necessarily appear sad, nor will they always withdraw from others. For some, symptoms of irritability, stress, aggression, and rage are more prominent.

It is important to note that because each young person’s experience is different, there is no list that names every situation affecting adolescents.

However, take all situations seriously and maintain open conversation with your child. The more warning signs you see, the higher the risk. If you suspect something is wrong and are concerned, speak up! As a parent, you can save your child’s life.

What are the Warning Signs?

Changes in Mood

  • Increased or inappropriate anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Severe depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of unbearable pain
  • Excessive guilt or shame
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Changes in Behavior

  • Withdrawing or isolating from others
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Sudden decline in school performance
    • Examples: Poor attendance, a drop in grades, or frustration with schoolwork in a formerly good student
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in eating/sleeping habits
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Impulsive or reckless behaviors
    • Examples: Teens may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, out-of-control drinking or unsafe sex.
  • Talking, reading, or writing about death or suicide
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Self harm

If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self. Maybe your child is merely having a bad day, but maybe it’s something more – don’t wait to get them help.


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
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.


Learn More