Suicide Prevention for Youths
Because children and teens experience so much pressure, such as dealing with rejection, relationships, school and family issues they can be susceptible to thoughts about suicide. Pre-teens and teens are still developing cognitively; they have difficulties with impulse control and forethought. As well, many teens who attempt suicide have a mental health condition. They might also be unable to see other solutions other than self-harm and suicide.
It is important that those in their lives are aware of the warning signs to help prevent suicide.
Suicide Warning Signs
- Talking or writing about suicide.
- Withdrawing from friends and family.
- Mood swings or personality changes.
- Use of alcohol or drugs.
- Feeling hopeless about a situation.
- Changing normal routines like eating & sleeping.
- Doing self-destructive things.
- Giving away belongings.
It is also important to create a space where youth feel they are heard, supported and valued. While it may be a difficult topic to approach with your children, there are ways you can help prevent self-harm and suicide.
- Don’t wait for your teen to come to you to talk about mental health and suicide.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Never shrug off threats of suicide.
- Encourage them to spend time with people they feel comfortable with.
- Monitor and talk about social media use. It can expose them to bullying, rumours, unrealistic expectations and peer pressure.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.
- Support their treatment plan if your pre-teen or teen is undergoing treatment for suicidal behaviour.
- Monitor medications as some can cause suicidal thoughts or behaviour changes, or if they are not properly taking their medication, it can alter their state of mind.
- Safely store firearms, alcohol and medications.
- Reach out for help.