Your teenager couldn't possibly be at risk for suicide, right? Unfortunately, you could be making a deadly mistake if you're assuming your child is above risk. Pay attention, even if your teenager doesn't have any typical warning signs. After all, most suicidal people don't exhibit alarming behaviors. They're not psychotic or insane. Their internal turmoil is, however, just as serious.
As you may recall, the teenage years are full of profoundly felt emotions. So talk to your teen. All the time. Even if he doesn't act like he wants you around. If you're consistently present in your teenager's life, you offer an outlet. And your teenager may surprise you by sharing some very personal information at the most unexpected times. What starts as the simple act of clearing the supper table together may turn into a soul-baring conversation. If you aren't there to listen, you'll miss it.
What's more, don't be afraid to talk to your teen about suicide. Simply talking about suicide won't make your teenager more likely to try it. It may seem counterintuitive, but a few frank conversations about suicide could have quite the opposite effect -- making you your child's most effective life preserver.
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- Tri-County End Teen Suicide Program. "Preventing Teen Suicide: Myths and Misconceptions." (Jan. 14, 2011) EndTeenSuicide.org.http://www.endteensuicide.org/prevent.html#myths
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- Youth Suicide Prevention Program. "Fast Facts and Myths about Suicide." (Jan. 14, 2011) YSPP.org.http://www.yspp.org/resources/fast_facts.htm
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