Youth Suicide Prevention Information
Youth Suicide - Information For Parents
(Adapted from the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho)
HELPING YOUR CHILDREN
Suicide is preventable and parents and caregivers make a difference. Parents are often not in a good position to see the warning signs for suicide in their own children. Initially, youth are far more likely to disclose their intent to harm or kill themselves to their friends. However, they then naturally look to adults for help.
LEARN THE WARNING SIGNS. Simply knowing the warning signals for suicide can save a life. Be aware of the risk factors for youth suicide as well. (Below)
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN. As parents, this is the most important thing we can do. Be persistent if necessary. Be willing to talk about suicide. Talking about suicide or suicidal thoughts will not push someone to kill him- or herself. Let them know that suicide is not the answer to whatever they are going through. Get professional help if needed or call the local Crisis Hotline (788-3596) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Pressures such as unrealistic academic, social or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. Teens and young adults are especially prone to feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and rejection as a result of these pressures.
Depression in young people is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent surveys indicate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression, and it can be difficult to detect in young people. But it is extremely important that depressed youth receive prompt, professional treatment. Keep in mind that depression in young men often appears as anger, rage, frustration and getting into fights.
Abuse of Alcohol, Drugs or Sex is a way that some young people cope with feelings of depression or loneliness. However, such behaviors only lead to new problems and a deeper level of depression.
Isolation or Withdrawal can also be a coping strategy for the suicidal youth making them even more susceptible to loneliness, depression and substance abuse.
OTHER GENERAL RISK FACTORS
- Mental disorders or substance use disorders
- History of trauma or abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Easy access to lethal means
- Local clusters of suicide that have a contagious influence
- Lack of social support
Suicide prevention experts argue that if deadly methods are not readily available when a person decides to attempt suicide, he or she may delay the attempt. If delayed, it may allow for the possibility of later deciding not to attempt suicide, or using less deadly methods, allowing for greater possibility of medical rescue.
Preventing suicide by firearms Safe storage of guns is one preventive action that could result in a decrease in the number of youth suicides.
- Most children older than the age of 7 have the strength to pull the trigger of a firearm, especially a handgun. Keep guns unloaded and locked up.
- Lock and store bullets in a separate location.
- Make sure kids don’t have access to the keys for storage / gun cabinets.
- Ask police for advice on safe storage and gun locks.
- Remove all firearms from homes with children and others judged by a physician to be at risk for a suicide attempt.
Preventing suicide by use of medications or household toxins
- Keep medications and household toxins locked up.
- Make sure kids don’t have access to keys where those products are stored.
- Parents should communicate with physicians so that medications prescribed to youth are effective but not deadly when treating patients who are potentially suicidal.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE WARNING SIGNS.
Most suicidal people give some of the clues and warning signs listed here. By learning the warning signs, paying attention and trusting your own judgment, you can make the difference between life and death.
- Threatening to, talking or writing about suicide
- Previous suicide attempt
- Seeking methods to kill oneself
- Agitation, especially combined with sleeplessness
- Giving away prized possessions, making final arrangements, putting affairs in order
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Withdrawing from friends, family or society
- Changes in eating patterns
- Dramatic mood changes
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Inability to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Recent loss of a friend or family member through death, suicide, or divorce
- Sudden dramatic decline or improvement in work/school work
- Themes of death or depression in conversation, writing, reading or art
- Neglect of personal appearance
- No longer interested in favorite activities or hobbies
- Chronic headaches, stomach aches, fatigue
- Taking unnecessary risks/recklessness
- Sudden, unexpected loss of freedom or fear of punishment/humiliation
Any one of these signs alone doesn’t necessarily indicate a person is suicidal. However, all signs are reason for concern and several signals may be cause for concern of suicide. Warning signs are especially important if the person has attempted suicide in the past.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN CRISIS, TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION
Call the local Crisis Hotline (788-3596) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255))
Ask. Listen. Be a Friend. Get professional help. Your actions may save a life!
Much of the information contained on this page is courtesy of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Visit their website for more information on youth suicide at www.sprc.org.
IMPORTANT LOCAL RESOURCES & CONTACTS:
Information and Support
- St Luke’s Center for Community Health: 727-8733
- Children’s Mental Health Department:
- Blaine County representative: Melody Kerner, 208-732-1633
- Regional Office (Twin Falls): Lee Wilson, Director 208-732-1630
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): 1-800-950-6262
- Wood River Chapter: 208-309-1987, www.nami-wrv.com
Hospitals : Providing screening; emergency services; or psychiatric services
- St. Luke’s Mental Health Clinic: 727-8970, www.stlukesonline.org/clinic/psychiatry/aviation
- Full time psychiatrist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker on staff
- St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center: 727-8800
- will screen; provide emergency medical treatment if needed & referral
- Canyon View Behavioral Health Services (Twin Falls): 1-800-657-8000 or 208-814-79
- will provide assessment & referral
- Intermountain Psychiatric Hospital (Boise): 1-800-321-5984 or 208-376-638
- will provide assessment, referral & psychiatric care for 12 years old and above
- St. Alphonsus Psychiatric Unit (Boise): 208-367-2175
- will provide assessment & acute psychiatric care for ages 5 to 12 years old
- Idaho State Hospital South (Blackfoot): 208-785-8402
- Primary Children’s Hospital (Salt Lake City, Utah): 1-801-662-7000
Local Professional Contacts
- St. Luke’s Mental Health Clinic: 727-8970
- St Luke’s Center for Community Health: 727-8733
- St Luke’s Medical Clinic: 788-3434
- Dr. Larry Weiner, Psychiatrist : 788-8924
- Dr. Nancy Mann, Developmental Pediatrician: 208-622-8811 or 208-814-8001
- Dr. Bart Adrian, Pediatrician: 788-3434
Local Law Enforcement
- Blaine County Sheriff’s Dept: 788-5555
- Bellevue Marshall’s Dept: 788-3692
- Hailey Police Dept: 788-3531
- Ketchum Police Dept: 726-7819
- Sun Valley Police Dept: 622-5345
- Carey Police Dept: 788-5555
- Local Crisis Hotline: 208-788-3596
- Idaho Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
- The Trevor Project, LGBTQ: 1-866-488-7386
Local/National Suicide Resources: