Prevent Teen Suicide – Tips for Parents

By: Julie Lajoe, LPC Counselor

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between 10 to 24,” according to the suicide prevention lifeline. Youth who are thinking about suicide oftentimes give warning signs of distress. Parents are key in picking up on these signs and can get them much needed help before their child engages in dangerous behavior.

They’re certain suicide risk factors associated with increased odds of having suicidal thoughts. These include:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Substance abuse
• Family disfunction/violence
• Traumatic death of a loved one
• Physical or sexual abuse

Youth may demonstrate behaviors that signal they may be having suicidal thoughts. These suicidal warning signs include:

• Direct suicidal threats such as – “I’m going to kill myself”
• Indirect suicidal threats such as – “I wish I would just die”
• Suicide notes and plans – this may be via social media posts or paper letters, diaries etc.
• Prior suicidal behavior
• Making final arrangements such as funeral plans, writing a will, or giving away prized possessions
• Asking questions or preoccupied with death
• Changes in, behavior, appearance, or thoughts and/or feelings

When a child shows signs that they may be considering suicide, it’s important to know what to do first by take the following actions:

• Be calm
• Directly ask if youth is thinking about suicide – “Are you thinking of suicide?”
• Show concern for their well-being
• Listen
• Reassure them there are resources and help available for them
• Do not judge their thoughts or behaviors
• Do not leave youth alone, provide constant supervision
• Remove any means of self-harm from their environment

“Youth who are feeling suicidal may not reach out directly to seek help. Warning signs may be subtle, but they are there. Being able to recognize the warning signs, showing concern for your child in distress and knowing where to turn for help are all key elements of suicidal prevention,” says Julie Lajoe, LPC Counselor. No one should agree to keep a youth’s suicidal thoughts a secret. Instead, seek help from community mental health resources as soon as possible. Know and recognize the warning signs and take immediate action. At NOAH, we offer behavioral health #consulting and traditional outpatient #counseling programs and services where these highly skilled and trained behavioral health staff work alongside our #medical and #dental teams to assess, diagnose and effectively treat the core-symptoms of our patients. Call 480-882-4545.


1-800-273-TALK (8255). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Mercy Maricopa 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 602-222-9444
Teen Life Line: 602-248-8336