“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 third 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.

Outreach is not a crisis center and office phones are managed Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm.  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.  Click on  Crisis Info for more information.

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.”

Treatment options:

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.

Additional Resources:

Suicide and Depression Awareness For Students

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Kids Health

Medicine Net

The Trevor Project

Learn Psychology

¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention