Warning Signs Your Teen May Be Suicidal

One of the last things that a parent wants to think about is the possibility of their teen being depressed or suicidal. However, suicide is a major problem among both teens and adults in the United States. Suicide ranks as the second-highest cause of death among young people 10 to 24 years old. The good news, though, is that suicide prevention is possible. And it starts with recognizing the warning signs that someone is suicidal. Get to know some of these warning signs to watch out for in your teenager. Then, you can be sure you take steps to get them help if you notice any signs in your child. 

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Drug and/or alcohol abuse can be signs that someone is suicidal, especially if that drug or alcohol abuse increases dramatically in a short period of time. If your teen was never a drinker before, for example, and they suddenly begin showing up at home drunk every night of the week, they could not only be abusing alcohol, but they may also be suicidal. 

Oftentimes, drugs or alcohol are used as self-medication to numb out the feelings of wanting to kill oneself. On the other hand, they can also be used as the means to commit suicide. As such, any drug or alcohol abuse by your teen should be taken very seriously and dealt with right away. Counseling and even a drug or alcohol detox and addiction program could help with these issues. 

Talking About Being a Burden

If your teen suddenly starts referring to themselves as a burden or as a problem for those around them (especially for you, as parents), you should be concerned. This is often a sign of suicidal tendencies and can be indicative of severe depression. 

Cutting or Other Self-Harm Behavior

Self-harm can be another sign of suicidal tendencies. Young people who are depressed or suffering from other severe mental health problems like dissociation, anxiety, or psychosis can sometimes turn to self-harm as a way to cope. 

You can sometimes see cuts or injuries on your teen's exposed skin. Other times, people who self-harm may wear long sleeves and pants when it is weather-inappropriate as a way to cover up the marks. 

Talking About Wanting to Die or Being Hopeless

If your teen starts to talk about being hopeless and feeling like their life will never amount to anything or the like, they are likely depressed and could be suicidal. Likewise, verbally expressing the idea that they want to die is often a clear indicator of suicidal tendencies. 

Other Signs of Suicidal Tendencies

Other signs of being suicidal include:

  • Isolation
  • Loss of interest in school and/or activities
  • Increased anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Mood swings

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of being suicidal in your teen, seeking out help is vital. Contact a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychiatric hospital right away so that your child can undergo a suicide assessment and a mental health assessment. This will help to determine your child's mental state and give you and their caregivers an idea of what kind of treatment is needed. 

To learn more about suicide prevention, contact a counselor.