Why do I need to watch for suicide?
Suicide is the third leading cause of
death for those ages 15 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 student.
Knowing the risk factors and warning
signs helps you help your student with concerns about himself or
Asking directly about suicide tells
your student 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
1 in 5 teens will have depression at
Many teens with depression are
Childhood depression often continues
into adulthood, especially if left untreated.
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
Sexting: Tell your students to never
take images they don't want classmates, family or future
employers to see. Forwarding a sexual picture of a minor is a
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:
"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
Talks about death or suicide in text
messages, on social media sites or in poems/music.
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
Dramatic mood changes.
Discussions of no reason for living
or no sense of purpose.
What you can do right now:
Know suicide risk factors and warning
Share this website with your student
Have a conversation about what your
student should do if he is concerned about himself or a friend.
Promote skills in problem-solving and
Maintain a supportive and involved
relationship with your student.
Encourage participation in sports,
activities at school/place of worship or volunteering.
Help your student develop strong
communication skills. Get medical care for depression and
Don't leave a depressed or suicidal
sibling home alone.
Most suicides occur in the early
afternoon/evening in the student's home.
Remove these items
or secure in your home:
Prescription and over-the-counter
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 students 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
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
How to start a conversation after a
What did you notice about yourself in
What is positive? What would you like
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?
to start a conversation about suicide:
"I have been feeling concerned about
"Lately, I've noticed some
differences in you. How are you doing?"
"What happened? It might help to talk
Questions you can ask:
"When did you begin feeling like
"Did something happen that made you
start feeling this way?"
"How can I support you right now?"
"Could you tell me more about that?"
to say that can help:
"You are not alone – I'm here for
"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: