Suicide Red Flags 🚩
So as a friend, family member, spouse, or parent.
Watch, Listen, and Observe if something feels off.
- It’s just not worth it anymore.
- I wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up.
- I think the world would be better off without me.
- I can’t stand the pain, I just want it to end.
- It would be better to not feel at all.
- - Talking or discussions about wanting to die
- Researching ways to kill oneself
- References to hopelessness or feeling as if life has no purpose
- Feelings of being trapped or in unbearable pain
- Feelings of being a burden to others
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Sleep changes; either excessive sleep or insomnia
- Isolation and withdrawal
- Expressions of rage or a desire to seek revenge
- Anxiety, agitation or recklessness
- Extreme mood swings
- There is a misconception that talking about suicide will plant ideas in the person’s head, but in reality, if they have those ideas, they were already there. Approach the subject gently and in a way that makes them feel safe to share with you.
- If there is any inkling that an adolescent is in danger of suicide, talk to them and put it all out on the table. Do not treat it like a taboo subject, but instead normalize it and ask open questions about how they are feeling and what they are thinking.
- Find out if they have a plan, a time they intend to do it, and the means to follow through with their plan. If there is a clear plan and the danger seems imminent, get help immediately by going to the nearest mental health hospital or if the teen is not willing to go then call 911 please let them be aware of the situation and some cases a social worker can go and talk to them instead of a police officer. DO NOT LET THIS GET PUSHED OFF. IF SOMEONE HAS A PLAN HELP THEM NOW!!
- If the adolescent is having suicidal ideation but does not intend to act on it, work on a safety plan with them so they have healthy coping mechanisms when experiencing thoughts of killing themselves. The safety plan can include people to contact, safe places to go, good activities to do, and lifelines to call (see the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255).
- If the adolescent is not already in therapy, see if that is something they are open to trying. If they are in therapy, make sure their therapist is aware of the suicidal thoughts.
- Adolescents are highly vulnerable, as they are working on identity development, feeling peer pressure and bullying, and lacking emotional maturity. Moreover, they tend to think irrationally to the point where they may catastrophize situations, believe they are completely alone in feeling the way they do, or think their distress will last forever. They need the support of loving friends and family members, along with therapists and other important adults in their lives that will help them see that these feelings will pass.
Suicide is preventable.
Do what you can to spread awareness and have those difficult conversations. They are not easy, but they could be life-saving.
If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
These conversation starters are from Total Life Counseling .
** I do not take credit for any of this information provided. Just sharing the resources.