Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Inc.
Teens and young adults are feeling more
pressures than ever before. If you are concerned regarding your child
or another child, act IMMEDIATELY and do not leave the teen, child, or young
adult alone, and call 911. Below is a risk
assessment checklist, and even one or two of these risk factors can
lead to suicide, so it is important to seek professional help for your child as
soon as possible. YOUNG PEOPLE DYING IN THE
U.S.: SUICIDE IS NUMBER THREE!
- Has his/her personality
- Is s/he having trouble with
a boy/girlfriend? Or is s/he having trouble getting along with other friends or
with parents? Has s/he withdrawn from people s/he used to feel close to?
- Has the teen been a
victim of sexual assault, dating violence, bullying, stalking or family
- Is there alcohol or
drug abuse in the home, or is your child coming from a broken
- Is the quality of his/her
schoolwork going down? Has s/he failed to live up to his/her own or someone
else's standards (when it comes to school grades, for
- Has s/he recently
been in trouble at school or with the
- Does s/he always seem bored,
and is s/he having trouble concentrating?
- Is s/he acting like a rebel
in an unexplained and severe way, or lying about participating in school or
- Is she pregnant and finding
it hard to cope with this major life change?
- Has s/he run away from home?
- Is your teenager abusing
drugs and/or alcohol?
- Is s/he listening to
music, watching videos, searching sites about suicide or dying?
- Has s/he been looking
at or downloading "dark" and/or disturbing images
- Is s/he complaining of
headaches, stomachaches, etc., that may or may not be real?
- Have his/her eating or
sleeping habits changed?
- Has his/her appearance
changed for the worse?
- Is s/he giving away some of
his/her most prized possessions?
- Has s/he discussed
suicide with friends?
- Is s/he writing notes or
poems or on the Internet (“MySpace” or “Facebook”) about death, suicide or
- Is s/he checking out
websites on suicide?
- Does s/he talk about suicide, even jokingly?
Has s/he said things such as, "I can't take it anymore," "Nobody
cares about me" or glamorizes suicide and/or death?
- Does your child seem
isolated with very few friends?
- Has your child been diagnosed with depression
or another behavioral or mental health disorder?
- Is there a history of
suicide in your family?
- Has her/his life
become disorganized recently?
- Has a friend
committed suicide recently?
- Is s/he preoccupied with themes of death or
- Has s/he tried to commit
- Is your child
attending a new school, or beginning college?
- Has your child experienced
multiple disappointments at the same time, or an overwhelming
"heartbreak" that has caused some
- Has your
child received difficult news about his/her health or disappointing news about
his/her future plans?
- Has your child made remarks
to you or others that s/he is thinking of "checking
out" or "ending it"?
If you suspect that your child or
teenager might be thinking about suicide, do not remain silent.
Suicide is preventable, but you must act quickly.
PREVENTION STARTS WITH
- Ask your child about
it. Don't be afraid to say the word
"suicide." Getting the word out in the open may help
your teenager think someone has heard his/her cries for help.
LISTEN. Accept what is said and treat it
- Make every effort to communicate with
your child daily, no matter how difficult.
- Trust your suspicions
that your child may be self-destructive.
openly and freely and ask direct questions about the person’s
- Try to focus on the
problem(s) and discuss and determine what needs to be done or changed; include
your child in the steps and actions that must be taken to address his/her
- If your
child is beginning college, reach out to the college and ask what resources are
available to students. Speak with these
"resources" about assessing and identifying depression among
college-aged students. Identify these resources and provide this
information to your child. Meet your child's roommate and friends,
acquaintances. Be accessible for these individuals to reach out to
you if they are concerned about your child.
identify the resources needed to improve
use of hotline numbers.
- Help your child
recall how s/he used to cope, and ask their opinion on how to move past the
- Share ideas on how to
- Reassure him/her that you
love him/her. Remind him/her that no matter how awful the problems seem, they
can be worked out, and you are willing to help.
- Ask her/him to talk about
her/his feelings. Listen carefully. Do not dismiss her/his problems or get
angry with your child.
your child's computer for suicide "How to" website
- Remove all
lethal weapons or instruments from your home, including guns, pills, kitchen
utensils, ropes, and belts, etc. (MEANS
- Seek professional
help. Ask your child's pediatrician to guide you. A variety of outpatient and
hospital-based treatment programs are available.
- Call the police
(911) if the situation is immediately life
- Do not leave the person alone if you believe
the risk of suicide is immediate or if you have concerns about his/her
behaviors or depression.
- Do not swear secrecy
to anyone thinking of suicide.