How do you know if your teen is suicidal? Most often they aren’t going to tell you or talk about it. If they do, will you understand and know how to help or know where to go for help?
I’m not a doctor and certainly don’t have all the answers but I was a teen on a one-way train down and made my first attempt at suicide as a pre-teen. Teens today have more pressure on them than I can imagine.
When I was that age there was no internet, People Magazine, Access Hollywood, cable, or presence on social media to make you feel extra pressure. Peer pressure was just that, peer pressure. Now pressure comes at teens from a 360-degree angle 24/7 if you don’t monitor their internet and phone activity.
As a proactive measure, I would talk with the school counselor to get an understanding of what types of issues teens are having. What have they’ve experienced and what do they suggest you do to help your teen proactively or if in trouble. Don’t think you have all the answers, you don’t.
If your teen is experiencing depression or is showing signs of anxiety, have them talk with a Therapist or at minimum your General Practitioner. If your doctor is of the opposite sex see if they have a Nurse Practitioner of the same sex to talk with. Often times teens will open up more if they think the person can relate to them. Teens may also share more if you give them the privacy, allow some time by themselves to talk more openly.
If your teen is suicidal or attempts suicide get help at once. Call a suicide hotline and have your teen talk with someone who might be able to help them, even if temporarily until you can get further help. Worst case scenario, go to the local hospital for help.
Here are a few resources I found.
One conversation is not the answer nor is being hyper-vigilant. Work to find a balance by having an open conversation by sharing your concerns, and let them know when you’ll follow up. Keep to your commitment.
At 12 years old, I came minutes away from dying from a suicide attempt. It was not my first or the last, just the most successful.
Communication and observation are the keys.