Teen Suicide: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Signs of Trouble

How can you tell if you should sound the alarm? It's not easy. Many of the signs of suicidal ideation -- things like withdrawal, rebellion, risky behaviors -- are also signs of being a fairly normal teenager. But that doesn't mean you should ignore them. And paired with some warnings signs that are not so typical, you can get a picture of someone who might need help.

Be on guard if you notice:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Social isolation or withdrawal from family
  • Decline in school performance
  • Change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Expression of "strange" or death-focused thoughts
  • Threats of suicide (take them seriously, always)
  • Frequent stomach aches, exhaustion, headaches or other possible physical manifestations of mental distress
  • Rebellious, risky or impulsive behavior
  • Ignoring positive feedback
  • Giving away possessions

If you do notice one or more of these signs, and you think your teen might need help, the next step is to get involved …