Symptoms & How to Talk to Teens About Suicide
For many parents, talking to their teenager about suicide can be uncomfortable, but it is an important conversation that every parent should initiate with their teenager. Some teenagers struggle in silence with severe depression, which if left untreated, may result in suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Teen suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24, surpassed only by accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The early warning signs often go undetected or are dismissed as “a phase” so it is important that parents educate themselves on what to look for and how to get their child help.
Jason Martin, LCPC, CPRP, Director of Clinical Services at Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services in Rockville, was recently interviewed by Kevin Krueger on WGTS radio to provide tips to parents on how to initiate a discussion about suicide, recognize the early warning signs of suicidal behavior, and how to get help if their teenager has suicidal thoughts.
Suicide, depression and other mental health issues can be difficult to talk about with loved ones of any age. Having an open door of communication about mental health issues will help your loved ones in distress feel comfortable coming to you for help without fear of judgement.
“There’s an old thought that if you talk about suicide that it’s going to make them think about wanting to do it, and it’s actually the reverse,” said Martin. “It’s really important to have that trusting relationship, so that they can know that they can come to you. Maybe not that day, but maybe in the next couple of days, next week or next year.”