Suicide Awareness

Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. This is an alarming statistic considering that 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have shown clear warning signs. Please use the resources below to be fully informed of the statistics, warning signs, and information of what you can do as a parent if you suspect your teen is exhibiting warning signs of suicide. There will also be a list of parent resources for you to access any time for additional help and support.

Statistics of Teen Suicide

  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12
  • At least 90% of teens who kill themselves have some type of mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, or a behavior problem.
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes.
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year.
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment.
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.
  • More than 30% of LGBTQ youth report at least one suicide attempt within the last year.
  • More than 50% of Transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.

Warning Signs

These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about 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.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Additional Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

Click see a breakdown to know the FACTS about warning signs.

Talking to your Children about Suicide

  • Timing is everything! Pick a time when you have the best chance of getting your child's attention. Sometimes a car ride, for example, assures you of a captive, attentive audience. Or a suicide that has received media attention can provide the perfect opportunity to bring up the topic.
  • Think about what you want to say ahead of time and rehearse a script if necessary. It always helps to have a reference point: ('I was reading in the paper that youth suicide has been increasing…' or 'I saw that your school is having a program for teachers on suicide prevention.')
  • Be honest. It this is a hard subject for you to talk about, admit it! ('You know, I never thought this was something I'd be talking with you about, but I think it's really important'). By acknowledging your discomfort, you give your child permission to acknowledge his/her discomfort too.
  • Ask for your child's response. Be direct! ('What do you think about suicide?'; 'Is it something that any of your friends talk about?', 'Have you ever thought about it? What about your friends?')
  • Listen to what your child has to say. You've asked the questions, so simply consider your child's answers. If you hear something that worries you, be honest about that too. 'What you're telling me has really gotten my attention and I need to think about it some more. Let's talk about this again, okay?'
  • Don't overreact or under react. Overreaction will close off any future communication on the subject. Under reacting, especially in relation to suicide, is often just a way to make ourselves feel better. ANY thoughts or talk of suicide ('I felt that way awhile ago but don't any more') should ALWAYS be revisited. Remember that suicide is an attempt to solve a problem that seems impossible to solve in any other way. Ask about the problem that created the suicidal thoughts. This can make it easier to bring up again in the future ('I wanted to ask you again about the situation you were telling me about...')

For more information about speaking with your children about suicide, click here.

What Should I do if I am Worried about my Child?

If your parent radar is going off, you are usually right. If you are worried about your child but unsure of the next step, please click here. to access more information from The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. It may be a very scary and confusing time but seeking help is of utmost importance.

I am always a resource for you and communication with the school is extremely important. Contact me anytime for a list of local resources. Please know that MTMS has a thorough risk assessment process in place that initiates if there are concerns of a student hurting themselves or others.

Parent Resources:

The resources below offer a wealth of information and are very important to keep on hand.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide:

Suicide Prevention Resource Center:

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: