September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so it’s time to talk about a very difficult topic. Unlike the other leading causes of death among teens, suicide is 100% preventable. However, CDC reporting is showing that the suicide rate across the country has been rising steadily since 1999.
If you are looking for help for your suicidal son, consider a youth residential treatment center like Sundance Canyon Academy. With professional therapists on staff, the boys at the treatment center receive the support that they could not otherwise get at home. Trained therapists help the boys learn to overcome suicidal thoughts and replace them with positive thinking patterns for a brighter future.
Warning signs of suicidal thoughts
If you think your teen is struggling with suicidal thoughts, keep an eye out for some common warning signs.
A significant change in behavior This could include being more aggressive than usual, being more depressed than usual, or even being significantly happier than usual. Sudden, significant changes in someone’s general behavior can be a sign of suicide ideation.
Impulsive or dangerous behavior If your son has started engaging in more impulsive and dangerous behavior, they may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Increased substance abuse Increased alcohol and/or drug use is common among people experiencing suicidal thoughts. Approximately one-third of people who commit suicide have been drinking alcohol at the time of their death.
Withdrawing from people they care about This is often a sign of depression as well as suicidal thoughts. Studies have shown that over 40% of people who commit suicide have a known mental illness. If your son already struggles with depression, or you are worried that he might be depressed, seek help from mental health professionals for treatment.
Withdrawing from activities that used to be fun Like withdrawing from the people they care about, withdrawing from activities that are typically fun can be a warning sign for teens struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Recognizing Suicidal Behaviors
Some common suicidal behaviors that escalate from suicidal thoughts include:
Giving away their possessions
Saying goodbye to family or friends
Buying a weapon or saving things that could be used in a suicide attempt (Ex: saving pills)
If your son starts displaying suicidal behaviors, seek help from a professional immediately. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
What to do if you suspect your teen is suicidal
If you suspect that your teen might be suicidal, take it seriously.
1. Ask Many parents are leery of asking their kids if they are suicidal for fear that they might become suicidal just by hearing the question. They won’t! If you ask the question in a caring, non-judgmental way, your teen is more likely to answer truthfully and let you help.
2. Listen Remain calm and listen without judgment. You might be tempted to tell them why suicide is wrong, but they really need you to acknowledge how they feel whether it’s right or wrong. Feeling suicidal can be scary and feel like a burden. By listening to how they feel, you help relieve that burden a little bit.
3. Remove The Means If they have a means of suicide available (i.e. gun, pills, etc.), remove it. They are less likely to impulsively follow through with their plan if lethal means are removed.
4. Encourage Support If your teen already has a therapist, call their therapist for support. If not, seek out professional help. For teens who need added support, consider bringing them to a youth residential treatment center where they can receive therapeutic intervention to support them through the crisis.
5. Follow Up As your teen progresses through their treatment, follow up with them to see how they are doing. Remain non-judgmental and offer support as needed.
If you feel like you need help for your suicidal son, contact the professionals at Sundance Canyon Academy. They are trained to work with teen boys who struggle with suicidal thoughts to help them overcome those thoughts and see the possibility of a better future. There is hope to overcome suicide.