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Taking Action to Prevent Suicide

Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their suicidal thinking. Parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers and friends are in a key position to recognize these signs and get help. Never take these warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret. When adults and young people in the school and community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority, and are empowered to take the correct actions, we can help youth before they engage in behavior with irreversible consequences (Source: NASP). 

It is difficult to imagine a child would think about hurting or killing themselves.  Yet, according to the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey, just over one in ten (1 in 10) 6th graders in Suburban Ramsey County students answered “yes” to the question “Have you thought about killing yourself?” In high school, the numbers are even higher; about one in four (1 in 4) 9th and 12th graders in Suburban Ramsey County said they had thought about killing themselves.

Therefore, it is important we are all aware of some common warning signs so you are able to take action to get your child the help they need (Source: NASP). 

Common warning signs include:

  • Threatening or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself such as seeking access to firearms, available pills, or looking online for other means.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling rage or seeking revenge.
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking.
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out.
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use.
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society.
  • Feeling anxious, agitated.
  • Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.

Click here for the Taking Action to Prevent Suicide Parent Message (.pdf version).

Source:  NASP—National Association of School Psychologists