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Teen Suicide

Teen suicide is a taboo subject. The thought of it creates anxiety, even in trained professionals. Anyone, teacher, coach, minister, parent, friend: none of us wants someone to die by their own hand on our watch, especially a child or teen.

Teen Suicide

But how do we help a child or teen (or even an adult) if we think there is a chance they might be thinking suicidal thoughts?


There are three simple but difficult steps to take, from the QPR organization.

Ask the Question

It’s hard, but we might be saving a life. “Have you been thinking about harming yourself or suicide lately?”


Of course, we need to couch the statement in the best way we can for the situation. But the way it is said isn’t as important as saying it.


Contrary to what some think, asking the question will not increase the chances of it happening. In fact, asking the question lets the other know that we noticed something and care enough to ask a hard question.

Persuade Them to Seek Help

Persuading begins with listening first. Listening builds trust and demonstrates care. Listen to understand, not fix, the problem. No judgment, advice or opinions. (I know, what else is left?)


If after listening we feel that the person might be in danger (we’ll talk about how to gage that in the following segments), the next step is to persuade them to go for help.


Once the person feels heard, offer to support them in seeking help:



If alcohol is involved, try to get it away from the person or the person away from it. Alcohol and suicidal thinking are not a good combination.

Make a Referral

Refer the person to someone who is trained to help them.


There are three qualities of referral to consider:



In the case of children and teens it’s usually easier to make an appointment happen than it is with adults.


If you want to know more about QPR, or see more examples of how to ask the question…


To access a comprehensive teen resource site…


Go here to access the National Mental Health Association.


See the Suicide Prevention Network site.


Is there a way to know when someone might be at risk for suicide?


Continue on from Teen Suicide to Teen Suicide Causes.


All the sub-topics in this section on Teen Suicide are:



Go to Counseling Appointment.


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