Talking Points About Teen Suicide for Parents of Teens
When you are feeling well-rested and ready to tackle a difficult subject, ask your teenager if they know of anyone who has committed suicide, made a suicide attempt, or had thoughts of suicide. Ask them their thoughts about this, and listen calmly and non-judgmentally. (This may be harder than you think. Don’t assume you know what they will say– be ready for anything)
The most important thing is that your teenager feels they can talk to you about this without you becoming upset or judgmental.
Here are some points you will want to cover:
1.Suicide affects a whole community.
Everyone can and should do something to help if they see or hear warning signs that someone is at the risk of suicide. Even if you don’t know someone very well at all, if you have a reason to believe they are suicidal, get some help from an adult.
2. Find an adult to help you.
While not everyone will know what to say or have a helpful reaction, there are people who do, so keep trying to find someone who will help you. Even better if you can be the point-man for them on this.
3. If you are concerned about someone, ask them about it.
Talking openly and honestly about scary emotions and suicide is okay. It will not make someone more suicidal or put the idea of suicide in their mind.
4. Effective help is available.
Feelings of hopelessness do not last forever, and there are effective ways that people who experience these feelings can be helped and they can go on to lead healthy, normal lives. It is never hopeless. You can make a difference.
5. The suicide hotline is open 24/7
Have your teen put the suicide hotlines into their phone. They should have it ready if they need it. If they suspect someone is suicidal, they can easily share the contact. If the person refuses to make the call, your teenager can always call the hotline themselves to ask for help.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Text “START” to 741741
*These Talking Points are loosely adapted from the excellent “13 Reasons Why Talking Points” from the JED Foundation.
Do you have more questions about how to talk to your teenager?
If you have more questions about how to talk to your teenager about suicide, or would like to ask me more about how to help or communicate with your teenager, please call me at 323-999-1537, or email me at email@example.com for a free 15 minute consultation. I can also help you find a therapist in your area who might be a good fit for you or your teen.
**Friends and colleagues are welcome to copy and paste in order to share these Talking Points with their clients. Please include my contact information as it is shown at the bottom of the page. Thank you.