How to Talk to a Teen With Suicidal Thoughts

suicidal thoughts

When a teen talks about suicide, it can be scary to hear. But it is also important to know that the vast majority of teens who talk about suicide do not go through with it. Still, if you have concerns about your child’s well-being, you should take action as soon as possible. The sooner your child gets help, the better their chances of getting back on track and feeling better.

At Imagine Seattle, we understand how stormy the teen years can feel. Powerful emotions, peer pressure, and undiagnosed mental health conditions can all lead to suicidal thoughts in teens. Even if you do not believe your teen would follow through on it, it is best to schedule an assessment to detect and address underlying issues. To find out how our dialectical behavior therapy program provides help for suicidal teens, reach out to us at 888.346.0473.

Does Your Teen Need Help for Suicidal Thoughts?

It may seem like your teen is being dramatic if they start talking about having suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, young people throw around phrases casually, such as wishing they were dead or saying things would be easier if they were not around. However, you should never take the expression of suicidal thoughts lightly, as it can indicate moderate to severe depression, which requires professional treatment.

How to Talk to a Teen with Suicidal Thoughts

A young person having suicidal thoughts may be more vulnerable if they feel that their parents either do not care about them or do not make an effort to understand what they are going through. If your child has talked about killing themselves or made the insinuation that everyone else would be better off without them, it is important to know how to talk to them about it. Here are some tips on how to respond to suicidal thoughts in teens:

  • You can encourage your teen to talk about what is going on by telling them it seems like something is bothering them or they seem upset about something. Then ask how you can help.
  • When your child opens up, it is critical to take them seriously. Try not to interrupt, even if it is painful to hear about their suffering.
  • Make sure to express your concern for their well-being. It can be difficult to talk about suicide, but discussing it directly and openly can help prevent teens from taking their own lives.
  • Ensure your teen knows that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure. Therapy and medication have been shown to improve mental health over time by teaching coping skills. Let your child know this can help them feel less hopeless or desperate about their situation.

When your teen knows they have your support and that professional help can make a difference, they may be more willing to meet with a therapist. Some young people are worried about what their peers may think, but you can let them know they have the option of whether or not to tell others they are getting therapy. Offer to keep things discreet for your child if they prefer it. As they start feeling better, they may feel more comfortable sharing their experience with others and encouraging others to get help.

Get Help for Suicidal Teens at Imagine Seattle

If you suspect your teen might be thinking about suicide, talking with them about it is essential. Let them know you are there for them and that they can get professional help to ease their struggles. Imagine Seattle can help your child heal from the crippling emotional pain of depression with dialectical behavior therapy. Call us today at 888.346.0473 to schedule an assessment so your child can start enjoying life once again.