Suicide Prevention Tips

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens.  Even children as young as six may try to hang, shoot, stab, or overdose themselves.

Follow these lifesaving tips if your child or teen is depressed.

  • Find out if your child or teen is thinking about suicide.  Tell physician or take your child to the emergency room or both.  
  • A responsible adult should be with child or teen at all times, including school transportation and after school.
  • Request homebound instruction if needed.
  • Discuss whether teen believes hospitalization would help. Seek hospitalization if the answer is yes.
  • Remove all guns, other weapons, and ammunition from the home, garage, and car, and move to an inaccessible site.
  • Flush all unneeded medications.  Lock up all remaining medications, including all poisonous substances. 
  • Only a responsible adult should have access to medications; this individual will give the medicine to the child or teen.  Give medications with a half glass of clear fluid; inspect mouth to insure the child or teen has swallowed the meds; have the child or teen swish some clear fluid after medication taken.
  • Engage the car window and child locks and make sure child or teen is wearing seat belt.  If possible, sit child or teen in back between two adults.
  • Do not let your teen drive.
  • Avoid hospital discharge on a Friday or before a holiday because fewer services are available.
  • The greatest risk for suicide after beginning antidepressants is within the first 30 days.  Special precautions (including close supervision) should be followed during this time.

Thanks to Barbara Geller, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of  Medicine at St. Louis, for compiling these tips.