• By Dana Sparks

Warning Signs a Teen Might be Suicidal

October 30, 2015

lonely man sitting on a park bench

What should I do if I suspect my teen is suicidal?

If you think your teen is in immediate danger, take him or her to the emergency room or call 911, your local emergency number or a suicide hot line number — such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

If you suspect that your teen might be thinking about suicide, talk to him or her immediately. Don't be afraid to use the word suicide. Talking about suicide won't plant ideas in your teen's head. Ask your teen to talk about his or her feelings and listen carefully. Don't dismiss his or her problems or get angry. Instead, reassure your teen of your love. Remind your teen that he or she can work through whatever is going on — and that you're willing to help.

Warning signs of teen suicide might include:

  • Talking about or hinting at suicide — for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself," or "I won't be a problem for you much longer"
  • Talking about or writing about death
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling purposeless or hopeless
  • Withdrawing from social contact
  • Mood swings
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Acting recklessly or aggressively
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other logical explanation for why this is being done
  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated
  • Unexplained cuts or burns caused by self-injury

Learn more on mayoclinic.org.

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