What Parents Should Know

For any parent, thinking about the possibility that your teen might commit suicide is almost too much to bear.  But, suicide is a preventable public health problem.

It is important to remember, the brain is one of the body’s major organs like the heart, lung, liver or kidney. Just as you would not tell someone to get over a heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer, so should you not tell someone to get over depression. Treat signs of depression and threats of suicide as part of a serious illness.

Additionally, changes in medications or diet, stress, lifestyle issues or previously undiagnosed medical problems can impact on a young person’s physical and behavioral well being often causing chemical imbalances and impacting on a his or her ability to cope.

Experts tell us three things about the truly suicidal: they are without hope, believe no one cares of they live or die and in the end truly believe they are doing everyone a favor if they die by suicide. For suicidal individuals, young or old, life’s circumstances are overwhelming; their coping skills are no longer adequate; and they believe no options exist except suicide.

Hopeless: At some point, no matter the age, we are all hopeless believing our problem(s) won’t go away.   It’s not that we want to die; its just that we want to end whatever is bothering us or causing so much pain.  We can can think of no options. These are just not the thoughts of adults but of young people as well.

No One Cares: When we ask teen callers if they’ve talked to a trusted family member, we often hear “Mom doesn’t care.” or “Dad doesn’t care.” I have no one who cares about me.”

Everyone would be better off without me: At this point the suicidal feel they have tried to reach out, have been disregarded or are truly a burden to their family members. It’s not that they want to die, they just can’t think of any options to ending the pain. They have no control over the problem or solutions.  But they do have control over one thing – their life.

To learn more, please review the following pages of our website:

Suicide Emergency Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

New US Center for Disease Control Report (2013)

Stigma Associated with Discussing Suicide Prevents Seeking Care

Why Seek Professional Care

Youth and Teen Brochure

Tips for Befriending

Know the Signs

Talking about Suicide

Parents or caregivers may feel uncomfortable asking or discussing suicide with their child. Maybe you think by bringing up the subject,t he discussion will result in your child commiting suicide.  Experts tell us this is not true.

On our Crisis Hotline, we ask every caller, “Are you suicidal?”  The message we are delivering is, if that’s the worse thing you are thinking about and are unable to discuss it with anyone else, you can talk to a Samaritan volunteer.

Parents, other relatives, and friends can ask “Are you suicidal?” and share the that it’s ok to talk about it; that you care about your loved one; let them know they are NOT a burden and that you don’t want them to die.

When you befriend a loved one, it’s also helpful to ask, “Of all things bothering you, tell me what’s bothering you the most?”   The answer might provide insight into whatever is causing the pain.  Be patient. Sometimes, the first thing said is not the real issue. Listening carefully.

At The Samaritans, we believe suicide is a missed opportunity in prevention. Teens are reaching out but would we know what to look for. Are we taking their pain seriously.

It is our hope that this site will help provide you some of the information, tools and resources to help you identify at-risk youth and know how to assist them in getting help before a tragedy occurs. Prevention begins with education.

Below are the warning signs and the risk factors affiliated with suicide.  This is not a complete list, just some of the more common signs.

This list does not replace an assessment by medical and behavioral health specialists. Always call 911 for emergencies and contact your primary care doctor.

RISK FACTORS

  • Mental disorders – particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance abuse disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Some major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide

Environmental Risk Factors

  • Relational or social loss
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Easy access to lethal means (such as firearms)
  • Local clusters of suicide that have a contagious influence
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with help-seeking behavior
  • Barriers to accessing health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Certain cultural and religious belief (for instance, the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Exposure to, including through the media, and influence of others who have died by suicide
  • Job or financial loss

 

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

Enter the name of your city or town for local resources.

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