Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts

Certain problems increase the chances of suicidal thoughts in children and teens. Other problems may trigger a suicide attempt.

Problems that increase the chances or trigger suicidal thoughts include having:

  • Depression
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • A history of being bullied
  • Issues with sexual orientation
  • Withdrawing from family & friends
  • Legal issues or discipline problems
  • Issues or addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Previous unsuccessful suicide attempts
  • Witnessing the suicide of a family member
  • A history of disruptive or abusive family life
  • Death of a parent or close family member or divorce
  • Family history of depression or substance abuse problems
  • Stress caused by physical changes related to puberty and chronic illness
  • A friend, peer, family member, or hero who recently attempted or died by suicide
  • Depression or another mental health problem, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • Possession or purchase of a weapon, pills, or other means of inflicting self-harm
  • Problems at school, such as falling grades, disruptive behavior, or frequent absences

Signs of depression, which can lead to suicidal behavior, include:

  • Poor school performance
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Difficulty focusing, thinking and concentrating
  • Complaints of continued boredom yet quite anxious
  • Feeling sad, empty, or unexplained tearfulness nearly every day
  • Loss of enthusiasm and motivation with restlessness and agitation
  • Unexplained aches, pains, headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue with no actual physical problems
  • Expressions of guilt and worthlessness especially if anyone attempts to give him or her praise or rewards

It is extremely important that you take all threats of suicide seriously and seek immediate treatment for your child or teenager. If you are a child or teen and have these feelings, talk with your parents, an adult friend, or your doctor right away to get some help.