You may be concerned about your son or daughter, a student, or another youth. It is important that you recognize the warning signs and risk factors of suicide and know what to do, but first there are things you may want to know.
How could anyone want to die?
Many people are unable to see alternatives to their problems or an end to their pain. Many who consder dying by suicide still want to live: the youth you are concerned about may have mixed feelings about turning thoughts of suicide into a suicidal act. By recognizing his or her risk and getting him or her to help, a life can be saved.
Go ahead and ask.
A youth may hint or joke about suicide, but it is important to take all communications about suicide seriously. It is safe to ask directly, "Are you thinking about killing yourself?" Talking about suicide does not cause suicide. If you have difficulty asking the youth about his or her thoughts, enlist another adult to help you. Or call Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) and the trained counselors there will help.
Show your interest and support without judgment. Don't interrupt, and don't give advice. Express concern and tell the youth that together you will find help.
Stay with the youth.
Don't leave a suicidal youth alone. Go with him or her to a mental health professional, hospital emergency room, or his or her primary care physician.
Move lethal means out of harm's way.
If there are firearms, drugs, or other means of suicide in the home, remove them until the crisis has passed. Make inaccessible anything that might be used by the youth in an impulsive moment.