With the rate of major depression in teens on the rise, the number of suicide attempts among teens and adolescents is on the rise. Teen suicide is an uncomfortable topic for many parents, but we can’t afford to keep the subject under taboo any longer. Though some worry that talking about suicide can serve as a catalyst for at-risk youth, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Often, life-saving help starts with a conversation.
After losing his son Will to suicide in 2010, John Trautwein was left shocked and confused. From his perspective, Will was a good student, a strong athlete, and a happy kid with plenty of friends. He couldn’t have predicted that Will would take his life at only 15. Since then, John has started the Will to Live Foundation, an organization built on bringing preventative suicide education to schools.
Though having trusted adults to confide in about suicidal thoughts is important for at-risk teens, as Trautwein puts it, “...It’s easier for kids to talk to their friends than to adults.” With this in mind, the organization primarily promotes programs which will not only educate teens about suicide but also start a dialogue and create safe spaces for teens to confide in one another.
Not all teens are going to feel comfortable starting the discussion, however, and as a parent, teacher, or anyone working with children and teens, there are warning signs to look for that could indicate depression or suicidal thoughts. Any talk of suicide even phrased as a joke, should be taken seriously, as should talk of not being good enough, or feeling constantly under pressure to perform better. Dropping grades, abnormal sleep patterns, and overwhelming anger or desire for revenge are all red flags that cannot be ignored.
Read more about the Will to Live Foundation, tactics for suicide prevention in schools, and advice for parents of teens.
At Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Teens, we provide intensive therapeutic intervention for at-risk children and teens, with both residential and outpatient programs available, depending on the needs of the child. If you believe that your child or teen is at-risk for suicide, or is otherwise in need of therapeutic intervention, visit us today for a free and confidential appointment to see how we can help: https://www.casapacifica.org/. Casa Pacifica is part of the American Association of Suicidology.