Teen Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Feeling Suicidal

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults. When someone expresses suicidal feelings or thoughts of suicide, it can be difficult to know what to do. It is important to know the signs of suicide and to take them seriously, especially when it comes to teen mental health.

Risk Factors and Signs of Suicide

The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide or suicidal feelings in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or impulsive behaviors. These factors can impair decision making and may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially in teenagers.

Someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts may appear withdrawn, have less interest in activities that they once enjoyed, or show a decline in academic performance. They may experience changes in their appetite and sleeping patterns, or appear more irritable, frustrated, or angry. Someone who is contemplating suicide may talk about death and dying or show other behaviors, such as writing suicide notes or giving away their possessions.

What Can I Do to Help a Teens Mental Health? 

It is important to provide immediate help to someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts. The first step is to be sensitive to their feelings, and supportive of what they say and feel; it may help them better express themselves.

Professional mental health resources are available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides phone support 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Chicago Behavioral Hospital offers free and confidential assessments 24/7 for anyone in mental health crisis. Chicago Behavioral Hospital is a mental health facility that provides specialized inpatient programs and outpatient mental health services, as well as substance abuse treatment. If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at (844) 756-8600 to speak with a mental health professional now.