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Help a Friend 
Why do I need to watch for suicide?
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 24 in the U.S.
  • For each suicide death, family and close friends are at higher risk for suicide themselves.
  • 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 with you.
  • 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.
Mental illness
  • 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 untreated.

Interpersonal conflict
  •  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.
Warning signs
Call 911 if:
  • A Suicide attempt has been made
  • A weapon is present
  • The person is out of control
  • Makes a serious threat to kill himself or herself such as:
  • ​"I wish I were dead."
  • "If ...... doesn't happen, I'll kill myself."
  • "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 in poems/music
  • Gives away possessions
  • Hopelessness
  • 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
What you can do right now:
  • Keep medications, including vitamins with iron, where your kids or their friends cannot access.
  • Don't keep lethal doses of medication on hand. A pharmacist can advise you on safe quantities.
  • Safely discard unused medications.
Alcohol and drugs
  • Talk to your kids about substance use as a major risk factor for suicide.
  • 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, etc.). 
  • 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 to help."

 "I think you feel there is no way out. Let's talk about some options."

Credits & Reference:
Oakland County Health Division

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