Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 24 in
For each suicide death, family and close friends are at higher risk for
If you are concerned, don't wait to talk to your child.
Knowing the risk factors and warning signs helps you help your child
with concerns about himself or another student.
Asking directly about suicide tells your child it's ok to talk about it
Take all suicidal thoughts, threats and behaviors seriously.
Most suicidal people want to end severe emotional pain.
Emotional pain makes it hard to think clearly, consider options or
remember reasons for living.
Prior suicide attempt
This is the strongest predictor of future attempts.
1 in 5 teens will have depression at some point.
Many teens with depression are undiagnosed.
Childhood depression often continues into adulthood, especially if left
Bullying: In-person or cyberbullying.
Trauma: Examples include injury, assault, legal trouble, physical,
sexual, or emotional abuse.
Relationship breakups: Impulsivity combined with a personal inability to
think through consequences before acting can increase the risk for
suicide following a breakup.
Sexting: Tell your children to never take images they don't want
classmates, family or future employers to see. Forwarding a sexual
picture of a minor is a crime.
Recent loss: Examples include moving, changing schools, divorce, or
death of a loved one.
Questioning sexual orientation.
Call 911 if:
A suicide attempt has been made.
A weapon is present.
The person is out of control.
The person makes a serious threat to kill himself or herself such as:
wish I were dead."
"If ...... doesn't happen, I'll kill
"What's the point of living?"
Looks for a way to carry out a suicide plan.
Talks about death or suicide in text messages, on social media sites or
Gives away possessions.
Rage, anger or seeking revenge.
Reckless or risky behavior.
Expressions of feeling trapped, like there's no way out.
Alcohol or drug use.
Withdrawal from family or friends.
Anxiety, agitation or sleep irregularity.
Dramatic mood changes.
Discussions of no reason for living or no sense of purpose.
Prevention What you can do right now:
Know suicide risk factors and warning signs.
Share this website with your child.
Have a conversation about what your child should do if he is concerned
about himself or a friend.
Promote skills in problem-solving and conflict resolution.
Maintain a supportive and involved relationship with your child.
Encourage participation in sports, activities at school/place of worship
Help your teen develop strong communication skills.
Get medical care for depression and substance use.
Don't leave a depressed or suicidal teen home alone.
Most suicides occur in the early afternoon/evening in the teen's home.
Remove these items or secure in your home:
Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Keep medications, including vitamins with iron, where your kids or their
friends cannot access them.
Don't keep lethal doses of medication on hand. A pharmacist can advise you
on safe quantities.
Alcohol and Drugs
Talk to your kids about substance use as a major risk factor for
If your teen has a pattern of substance use, seek mental health care.
Substance use could be an attempt to self-medicate a mental illness.
Substance use makes youth more likely to choose lethal means, such as
guns. Remove firearms from your home.
Lock up potentially harmful common household products, including
household cleaners, products containing alcohol (such as mouthwash, hand
sanitizer, etc.), and cosmetics (such as nail polish remover, perfume,
Remove firearms from your home. More than half of all suicide deaths
result from a gunshot wound.
Talking to your kids How to start a conversation after a relationship breakup:
What did you notice about yourself in the relationship?
What is positive? What would you like to change?
Were there patterns or issues that brought you into this
relationship or caused it to end?
What are your priorities and preferences in life?
Who are you on your own and how do you want to live your life?
How to start a conversation about suicide:
"I have been feeling concerned about you lately."
"Lately, I've noticed some differences in you. How are you doing?"
"What happened? It might help to talk about it."
Questions you can ask:
"When did you begin feeling like this?"
"Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?"
"How can I support you right now?"
"Could you tell me more about that?"
What to say that can help:
"You are not alone... I'm here for you."
"I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I love you and want
"I think you feel there is no way out. Let's talk about some
In this video created by Mayo
Clinic, teens describe common signs that a teen is considering suicide and
provide encouragement for communicating directly and immediately for support
and safety. It also Includes suggestions for what to say to a teen who may
be at risk for suicide and ways to keep them safe. Things can get better.