Know the Signs

Does your child exhibit warning signs of suicide?

Depression can affect anyone, at any age. There are also many physical problems which may present themselves as depression. Depression is one of the most common behavioral health problems affecting nearly everyone through either personal experience or that of a loved one, family member or friend.

Depression can interfere with daily activities, and frequently causes problems with social and family relations.  It causes pain and suffering not only to those who have the problem, but also to those who care about them. It’s important to learn more about depression and what to do if you see the warning signs.

It can be difficult to know the difference between having a bad day and needing to seek help.  How would you know when someone you care about needs to seek help from a professional?

The first place to start is to understand the signs and symptoms. These are widely varied, and some may not apply. However, if you are noticing that someone you care about is experiencing symptoms occurring over two weeks or more  (not just a day or two), and severe enough that they are causing problems in daily life, it is probably a good indication help is needed.

The gateway to help is your child’s primary care doctor coordinating care with behavioral health specialists.

Parents and friends are urged to note the following behaviors, which suicidal people frequently exhibit.

  • Talking about, writing about, hinting at or threatening suicide
  • Drug abuse
  • Drastic changes in personality
  • Losing interest in favorite activities
  • Sleeping very little or sleeping excessively
  • Eating very little or eating ravenously
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Fatigue, lethargy or apathy
  • Doing poorly in school
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Drastic changes in appearance
  • Conflicts with family, peers, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc

This list isn’t complete; these are just some of the more common signs. Feelings of depression and suicide are treatable, with the right help. Before young people can be guided to the professional help they need, however, we must be willing to listen to their cries for help and to respond in a caring and effective way.

Learn more about What Parents Should Know.

Learn more about Talking to Your Teen.

Learn more about Referring your Teen.

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

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