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Factors that Increase the Risk a Teenager will Attempt Suicide:

Four out of five completed suicides give clear warning signs of their intentions. This means that, if we learn the signs and know how to respond, we have an opportunity to assist 80% of those teens who are contemplating suicide.

Many times, signs of concern mimic “typical teenage behaviors”. So, how can we know if it’s just “being a teenager” or something more? If the signs are persisting over a period of time, several of the signs appear at the same time, and the behavior is “out of character” for the young person as you know him/her, then close attention is warranted.

The following are some signs of concern that you may see. This is, by no means, all of the signs. Anytime you have a concern about a young person’s actions and/or behaviors, be proactive – have a conversation with the child. Seek professional help, if necessary.

Suicide Threats: Either Direct or Indirect Statements

People who talk about suicide, threaten suicide or call suicide crisis lines are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves. Take suicide threats seriously.

“I’d be better off dead.”
“I won’t be bothering you much longer.”
”You’ll be better off without me around.”
“I hate my life.”
“I am going to kill myself.”

Suicide threats are not always verbal.

Text messages
Social networks

Previous Suicide Attempts

One out of three suicide deaths is not the individual’s first attempt.
The risk for completing suicide is more than 100 times greater during the first year after an attempt.
Take any instance of deliberate self-harm seriously.

Preoccupation or Obsession with death or suicide

Essays, writing about death
Poems about death
Artwork, drawings depicting death


Sudden, abrupt changes in personality
Expressions of hopelessness and despair
Declining grades and school performance
Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
Increased irritability and aggressiveness
Withdrawal from family, friends and relationships
Lack of hygiene
Changes in eating and sleeping habits

Final Arrangements

Once the decision has been made to end their life, some young people begin making final arrangements.

Giving away prized or favorite possessions
Putting their affairs in order
Saying goodbye to family and friends
Making funeral arrangements

Other Signs

Experiencing a recent loss – a loved one, relationship, job, etc.
Increased use or abuse of alcohol or drugs
Recent separation or divorce of parents
Feelings of loneliness or abandonment
Feelings of shame, guilt, humiliation or rejection
Emotional stress and difficulties may result in physical complaints, such as head-aches, stomach-aches, loss of energy, etc.
Taking excessive risks, being reckless
In real or serious trouble, especially for the first time
Problems staying focused or paying attention

Remember: This is not an all-inclusive list of signs of concern. Anytime you notice behaviors that concern you, don’t hesitate or be afraid to ask questions.

Taken from The Parent Resource Program of the Jason Foundation - An Excellent Site!