The three leading causes of death for teens 15 to 19 years old are accidents, homicide and suicide in that order. However, some experts feel that the numbers are actually worse than that and that suicide might be second or even first in the cause of teen deaths. Often suicides are reported as accidental deaths so the statistics might not reflect the reality. But even still it is a serious problem. If you take all the young deaths caused by those big scary illnesses such as heart problems, birth defects, influenza, cancer, pneumonia and AIDS, suicide takes more lives. What can be done about it? More effort and resources need to be focused on teen mental health and suicide prevention.

Looking for warning signs of suicide

When you know the signs and how they are applicable to your child then you can respond in a more appropriate way. Depression manifests differently in different people and that is true of teens as well. Look for things like;

  • Changes in mood
  • Low energy levels
  • Staying in the same clothing
  • Changes in sleep patterns, sleeping for too long or not being able to get to sleep
  • Rejecting their friends
  • Not wanting to see family
  • Talking about death and suicide specifically
  • Making plans for their belongings when they die
  • Making comments about not being born, you and the world would be better off without them, being useless
  • Traumatic events may be a trigger
  • Acting out in a destructive and self-harming way with drugs, drinking, taking risks, self-harming

If you notice warning signs

If you are a parent and have noticed such warning signs of suicide you should not panic and assume you did something wrong. Your teen’s life though may depend on how you react and what you do. Parents need to focus on the teen, not past mistakes. Try not to overreact, don’t wait to support them or get them help. If you cannot get them to a professional seek advice yourself, seek resources, and educate yourself. Model self-care and healthy habits so they are more likely to adopt them.

Keep lines of communication open, if that is a problem, then find someone who can help you achieve that. Avoid minimizing their feelings. Regardless of what your opinion is of someone or something, they are in pain and you need to hear that. Sometimes the pain is caused by something obvious sometimes it is not. It is important to keep trying to be sympathetic and empathic without being condescending. Stay honest, tell them your concerns but stay constructive.


It is important to focus on suicide prevention by making sure your teen knows they are not alone. Give them all the support you can, take them seriously, make time for them. Find help from where you can to get through it. Keep in mind there are no quick fixes, this will take time so be patient and accpet that.

Author's Bio: 

This Article Penned by Lora Davis.