Teen suicide is devastating to families and communities, and it’s a situation that no parent ever wants to find themselves facing. Understanding and identifying the signs that your teen may be considering suicidal behavior is the key to getting them the help that they so desperately need. Here are 4 signs to be on the lookout for in your teen:
Depression and sadness
Depression and sadness in teens isn’t always obvious. You may notice that your teenager seems unhappy and unable to find joy in the things they once did. They may start to express feelings of hopelessness about the future. They can be quick to anger, quick to cry, and they may lash out. Some teens will try to hide their depression, making it more difficult for parents to detect. It’s important to watch for subtle changes in their attitude and behavior that could indicate an underlying issue. Parents of teenagers with a history of depression should pay special attention to their teen.
Physical changes and symptoms
A teen that is experiencing an overwhelming sense of sadness and hopelessness may show physical signs of depression. These can include headaches, loss of appetite, stomach pains, insomnia, increased sleeping hours, and more. If your teen is losing or gaining weight rapidly and without explanation, it should be a cause for concern. Many people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts may also suffer from insomnia, while others may sleep a lot. Parents should take note of any changes in their child’s eating and sleeping habits, as they could be signs of a more serious underlying issue. Watch out for anxiety, fear, and nervousness that appear seemingly without a cause.
Withdrawing and becoming isolated
Teens who are contemplating suicide will often withdrawal from family, friends, and their community. They can stop enjoying the activities that they once did, instead brushing them off and making excuses. Suicidal teens will sometimes become more isolated, spending hours alone in their rooms or away from home and friends. If your teen no longer wants to participate in the activities that they’ve enjoyed, and if they stop wanting to spend time with you or their friends, it should be a red flag that something more serious is occurring.
Engaging in reckless, self-destructive behavior
Reckless behavior can include extreme, self-destructive things like underage drinking and doing drugs, or even just skipping school and running away from home. For teens using drugs or abusing alcohol, they may need treatment for addiction, in addition to treatment for depression. Self-harm is another symptom to be aware of, and it involves cutting and injuring one’s self. If your teen starts wearing long sleeves or pants in warm weather, or just generally seems to be trying to cover themselves up, they may be hiding cuts and scars.
If you observe any or all of these signs in your child, it’s so important that you talk to them right away to try and understand. Don’t wait to intervene, as it could be too late for a teen who has already decided to end their life. You can monitor your teen’s phone usage to identify signs of depressions, sadness or suicidal behaviour.