“Suicide (i.e., taking one’s own life) is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year.”¹
Often these teens are suffering from a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder that has gone untreated. A teen who has thoughts of suicide is very hopeless, they feel like their situation is unbearable and they are desperate to escape the pain. These teens feel unable to solve problems and their attempts to cope have not been successful. Any threat of suicide or comments about wanting to be dead should always be taken seriously. Tell a trusted adult and get immediate help for yourself or your friend because treatment can work.
988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. That could be:
Thoughts of suicide
Mental health or substance use crisis, or
Any other kind of emotion distress. People can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.988 serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.
Outreach is not a crisis center and office phones are managed Monday-Thursday, 8:00 am– 3:00 pm and Friday, 8:00am – 12Noon. We respond to emails and phone calls during normal business hours. Calling your local police department at 9-1-1 is always an option if you or someone you know is experiencing a physical or mental health emergency.
Warning Signs of Suicide Risk:
- Prior suicide attempt
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless or guilty
- Signs of depression (see depression section above)
- Increased involvement in drugs or alcohol
- Isolation from friends and family
- Violent, rebellious behavior, running away
- Drastic personality change or mood swings
- Putting affairs in order, giving away possessions
- Becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
- Availability of lethal means such as guns in the home
- Wishing they were dead; making statements such as, “Everyone would be better off without me.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you need to get professional help right away. Never leave anyone alone who is expressing suicidal thoughts. These thoughts are scary and you do not need to experience them alone; ask a caring adult for help. The first thing a mental health professional will do is assess the person who is believed to be suicidal, make plans for assuring their safety, and begin treatment of any mental health conditions such as depression. They will also work to address any of the issues that may have led to the suicidal thoughts through the use of problem-solving and coping skills.
- ¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Suicide and Depression Awareness For Students
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Kids Health
- Medicine Net
- The Trevor Project
- Learn Psychology
- SAMHSA Treatment Locator
- Warmline (For those who aren’t in crisis, but still want to talk to someone)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “MHA” to 741741
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor
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