Suicide Awareness

Not every depressed child becomes suicidal, but if your child is depressed, it would be best if you learned the warning signs of suicide. Here are some of the warning signs:

Writing about death
Talking about death
Having dreams about death
Drawing morbid pictures
Feeling very hopeless
Not wanting to be around family and friends
Feeling very overwhelmed by stress
Not caring about anything anymore
Giving away prized possessions
Previous suicide attempts
Making statements like, "You don't have to worry about me much more" or "I wish I was never born" or "I'd be better off dead"

If you see these warning signs, don't ignore them, take them very seriously.  Most suicides can be prevented. Worst case scenro - you minimize, ignore or neglect to take serious psychiatric interventions and grieve the loss of your child for the rest of your life.

SAMHSA's Suicide
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Suicide: Read This First

How common is suicide in children and teens?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported  that in 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10–24. Although these numbers may make suicide seem common, it is still a rare event. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are more common than suicide deaths and are signs of extreme distress. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not harmless bids for attention and should not be ignored.

What are some of the risks factors for suicide?

Risk factors vary with age, gender, or ethnic group and may change over time. Some factors that increase an individual’s risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors are:

Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders

Substance abuse disorder

Chronic pain

Prior suicide attempt

Family history of suicide

Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse

Firearms in the home

Having recently been released from jail or prison

Exposure to suicidal behavior of others, such as family members or peers

It is important to note that many people who have these risk factors are not suicidal.

What are the warning signs?

The following are some of the signs you might notice in yourself or a friend that may be reason for concern:

Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself

Making a plan or looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online

Buying a gun, or stockpiling pills

Feeling empty, hopeless, or feeling like there is no reason to live

Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

Talking about being a burden to others

Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

Sleeping too little or too much

Withdrawing from family or friends or feeling isolated

Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

Displaying extreme mood swings

Saying good-bye to loved ones, putting affairs in order

Seeking help is a sign of strength; if you are concerned, go with your instincts and seek professional help.

Reaching out to a friend you are concerned about is also a sign of strength.

What can I do for myself or someone else?

Immediate action is very important. Here are a few resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1–800–273–TALK (8255), confidential help 24-hours-a-day. You can also visit the Lifeline’s website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline....
Veterans Crisis Line : 1–800–273–8255, press 1

Crisis Text Line : text START to 741–741

HealthReach , information available in multiple languages:
Help for Mental Illnesses: National Institute of Mental Health web page

Treatment Referral Routing Service: 1–800–662–HELP (4357), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

What if someone seems suicidal on social media?

Many social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Google+, have ways to report suicidal content and get help for the content creator. Each social media site has a different procedure, so search the site’s help page for assistance.

Visit the NIMH website: and search “suicide”

Visit the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus,
En Español:
Find information on clinical trials at the National Library of Medicine Clinical Trials database:

Suicide in America:  Frequently Asked Questions

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:

Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
A prior suicide attempt
Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
Family history of suicide
Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
Having guns or other firearms in the home
Incarceration, being in prison or jail
Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or media figures.
The risk for suicidal behavior is complex. Research suggests that people who attempt suicide differ from others in many aspects of how they think, react to events, and make decisions. There are differences in aspects of memory, attention, planning, and emotion, for example. These differences often occur along with disorders like depression, substance use, anxiety, and psychosis. Sometimes suicidal behavior is triggered by events such as personal loss or violence. In order to be able to detect those at risk and prevent suicide, it is crucial that we understand the role of both long-term factors—such as experiences in childhood—and more immediate factors like mental health and recent life events. Researchers are also looking at how genes can either increase risk or make someone more resilient to loss and hardships.

Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal response to stress. It is, however, a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention.

What about gender?

Men are more likely to die by suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide. Men are more likely to use deadlier methods, such as firearms or suffocation.Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide by poisoning.

What about children?

Children and young people are at risk for suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 34.

What about older adults?

Older adults are at risk for suicide, too.While older adults were the demographic group with the highest suicide rates for decades, suicide rates for middle-aged adults has increased to comparable levels (ages 24–62). Among those age 65+, white males comprise over 80 percent of all late-life suicides.

What about different ethnic groups?

Among ethnicities, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) tend to have the highest rate of suicides, followed by non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders each have suicide rates that are about half their White and AI/AN counterparts.

How can suicide be prevented?

Effective suicide prevention is based on sound research. Programs that work take into account people’s risk factors and promote interventions that are appropriate to specific groups of people. For example, research has shown that mental and substance abuse disorders are risk factors for suicide. Therefore, many programs focus on treating these disorders in addition to addressing suicide risk specifically.

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” can effectively reduce suicide risk. One type is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help people learn new ways of dealing with stressful experiences by training them to consider alternative actions when thoughts of suicide arise.

Another type of psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been shown to reduce the rate of suicide among people with borderline personality disorder, a serious mental illness characterized by unstable moods, relationships, self- image, and behavior. A therapist trained in DBT helps a person recognize when his or her feelings or actions are disruptive or unhealthy, and teaches the skills needed to deal better with upsetting situations.

Medications may also help; promising medications and psychosocial treatments for suicidal people are being tested.

Still other research has found that many older adults and women who die by suicide saw their primary care providers in the year before death. Training doctors to recognize signs that a person may be considering suicide may help prevent even more suicides.

What should I do if someone I know is considering suicide?

If you know someone who is considering suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Remove any access he or she may have to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications.

If you are in crisis

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.

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