Signs of Suicide - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Posted by SUSD Communications on 9/1/2023

September is Suicide Prevention Month, which is a time to raise awareness and discuss this highly stigmatized topic. Our goal here at SUSD is ensuring that our students, staff, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.

SUSD is planning a community viewing and panel discussion of the film, My Ascension, an inspiring look at the story of Emma Benoit, who survived a suicide attempt the summer before her senior year of high school, where she was a popular varsity cheerleader with a supportive family and lots of friends. Inside, she was struggling in silence with depression and anxiety. She now uses her painful experience as a way to spread awareness and help others.

Through this film, we are able to hear firsthand, the experiences of family, friends, school officials, and suicide prevention experts. “The film does not shy away from the difficult realities of the ongoing youth suicide crisis, but shares valuable resources to help keep teens safe.” (www.myascension.us). Our goal is to raise awareness and provide resources to SUSD families. 

Signs of suicide - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

If you have concerns for your child, the first step is to start a conversation, and then listen without judgment. Often when teens are struggling, they feel disconnected from the people who love them or fear that they might get in trouble. You can say, “I’ve noticed some big changes in you. How are you?” You can show your support by saying, “It’s okay to feel this way. I’m here for you.”

If they give any indication that they are thinking about suicide, don’t hesitate to ask directly. Asking about suicide will not put the idea in their head. Instead, it will show them that you really see their pain and are not afraid to hear the truth. “When things get this tough, have you ever thought about ending your life?” No matter how your child answers, show your support and keep the conversation going. The ACT message applies to you too.

  • Acknowledge signs of suicide in your child
  • Care: show your child that you can listen and support them
  • Tell someone; reach out to get your child the help they need

There are many pathways to healing. Most people thinking about suicide are struggling with a mental health condition, like depression. With professional help, people begin to feel much better. But it can be hard for a teen who is struggling to ask for help. Be your child’s advocate. You can start by reaching out to their pediatrician or school counselor. Call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, 24/7 support.

Read more at The SUSD Source