Our tweens and teens are vulnerable to the many stresses they face today—pressure to fit in, desire for approval, eager to belong, search for identity, stress to perform, as well as physical, emotional and chemical changes happening in their bodies. Adolescents can become easily distraught. What may seem small and trivial to us can be immensely overwhelming and allow vulnerability to depression or suicidal thoughts.
It’s important to recognize depression and suicidal warning signs so you can get the help your teenager needs. (Click here on depression or suicide to recognize the warning signs: depression and suicide)
Untreated depression can lead to suicide so don’t take it lightly. According to Center for Disease Control, in 2013, suicide was the second leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years.
Here are some helpful resources and information in dealing with suicide and depression:
First of all, if you think your children is suicidal and in immediate danger call 911, or a suicide hotline number—such as:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
- Use the Online Crisis Chat
- Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
- For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Click here for some excellent resources for further information:
- Teen Suicide Prevention
- Youth Suicide
- About Teen Suicide
- Mayo Clinic – Teen Suicide
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Saving Lives, Protecting People
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – Teen Suicide
Depression Resources and Information:
Early Intervention is Important.
If you suspect your child may be struggling with depression, talk to your pediatrician. Don’t wait.
Depression is Treatable.
The sooner you help your child to feel better the less likely they will abuse drugs or alcohol, engage in self-harming behaviors, and experience relationship, school or work difficulties. Untreated depression can lead to suicide so don’t take it lightly. Depression is the single largest risk factor to suicide—90-98% of all people who die by suicide were diagnosed with mental illness, the most common being depression. Some kids might at first resist the help they need, but chances are, they will thank you someday (mine did several years later after hating me for a time). When we see our children in pain and address it, they may not like it, but deep down they know our actions are out of love.
There is Hope and Healing.
I encourage you to initially respond by listening to your child. Stay calm (and that’s not always easy). Ask open-ended questions and find out how things are going. Provide space for your child to respond and listen carefully. Be cautious not to judge. Don’t offer advice, just listen. The more you can listen, the more willing they will be to open up to you. Ask them about the pressures they are facing. Be curious to hear from them honestly.
Also, see the Erika’s Lighthouse resource I provide below. The site offers excellent information on how to talk to your teen. They believe “when teens know about depression, they are more likely to get the help they need, and deserve.”
There is hope for you to get through this struggle and your child can feel better in order to move on to live a healthy, happy and productive life.
Download Here a Free Parent Handbook on Childhood and Teen Depression to find out more.
If you or someone you know has harmed his or herself or is in immediate risk of harm, CALL 911 immediately. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, CALL the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or, TEXT the Crisis Text Line by texting “LISTEN” to 741-74.