How to handle a teen with suicidal thoughts

Written by kimberly caines Google
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How to handle a teen with suicidal thoughts
Teen depression can lead to suicide. (woman in solutude and depression image by Allen Penton from

Suicide is routinely one of the leading causes of teen deaths. Thoughts of suicide by teens may stem from depression, lack of support, bullying, and alcohol and drug use. Stressful events such as a death, divorce, or a relationship ending can also lead to suicidal thoughts. If your child talks about suicide or death, or displays destructive behaviour and lacks motivation to participate in activities, recognise these as warning signs and get your child the help he needs.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Express your concern to your child in a loving, supportive way. Allow your child to confide in you and show that you care about the issue at hand that is bringing on suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Suggest your child to talk to a neutral person such as a school counsellor, doctor or relative if they don't feel comfortable talking to you.

  2. 2

    Ask your child if she has ever thought about harming herself or if she has entertained the idea of suicide. Also ask her if she has a suicide plan in place or if she has started acquiring the materials she plans to use to commit suicide.Tell her you are concerned and you are asking because of behavioural changes you have noticed. According to, the answers to these questions will help you gauge your child's risk for suicide. Avoid judging your child, offer hope and reassure her help is available.

  3. 3

    Schedule an appointment for your teen with a psychiatrist.Talk to the psychiatrist if your child refuses to go. The psychiatrist may provide you with strategies to help motivate your teen to seek help.

  4. 4

    Enter family counselling to discuss and resolve any family problem that may be fuelling your child's suicidal behaviour. Events such as parents divorcing, violence at home or the death of a loved one can bring on feelings of hopelessness and depression ultimately leading to suicide.

  5. 5

    Give your child the suicide prevention hotline phone number: 800-784-2433. Suicidal thoughts come and go in waves, and if you're not there during a heated moment, you want your child to have access to help. The phone number can also provide information about treatment facilities and counselling for you, or give you child someone else to talk to if they don't feel like speaking with you about their feelings.

  6. 6

    Stay with your child if he is in a crisis situation and threatens to commit suicide. Avoid leaving suicidal teens alone. suggests calling 911 if suicide seems imminent. Your child may be hospitalised involuntarily to keep him safe from himself.

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