The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has provided a list of warning signs and tips to help prevent suicide. I would like to echo the following:
Although kids thinking about suicide are not likely to seek help, they do show warning signs to their friends, classmates, parents or trusted school personnel. Never ignore these signs. You can help!
The warning signs include suicide notes, direct (e.g. “I want to die”) and indirect (e.g. “The world would be better without me”) threats, depression, self-injury (e.g. cutting), and a plan/method/access (e.g. interest in and access to weapons, medication, etc.)
In order to help their friends who may be suicidal, teens should know these warning signs, not keep it a secret and tell an adult who can and will help.
The New York Times provides a guide to adolescent depression. It describes that teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to experience depression and that
The following events or situations can cause depression:
- Bullying or harassment at school or somewhere else
- Child abuse – both physical and sexual
- Lack of social skills
- Learning disabilities
- Long-term illness
- Poor parenting or caregiving
- Stressful life events, such as the loss of a parent to death or divorce
What you can do:
- Acknowledge that adolescent depression is a real issue.
- NASP’s Save a Friend can be printed and shared with the teenagers in your life.
- Consult a mental health professional in your area if you or your child may be depressed.