SUICIDE PREVENTION--WARNING SIGNS,
HELP NUMBERS, & Helpful Web Sites
Disclaimer: Online information found here is made available so that individuals may find out whether consultation with a counselor or doctor may be helpful. This is a help site and is not intended to provide treatment, diagnosis, or consultation. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
What are the warning signs of suicide?
The following warning signs may be signs of a mental health problem, such as a mood disorder, or they may relate directly to suicidal thoughts or behavior:
--Changes in functioning, such as
A drop in grades
Neglect of personal appearance
Neglect of responsibilities
--Changes in emotions, such as
Appearing sad, hopeless, bored, or overwhelmed
Having spells of severe anger
Appearing more anxious or worried
--Changes in behavior, such as
Getting in trouble, being rebellious, aggressive, or impulsive
Withdrawing from friends or family or having a big change in friends
Changing eating or sleeping habits
Losing interest in activities
--Use of drugs or alcohol
--Victim of sexual or physical abuse
--Sexual feelings or confusion about sexual orientation that the teen finds unacceptable
--Self-harmful behavior, such as cutting or anorexia
--Talking or writing of suicide or death
--Making a suicidal gesture, such as taking a small amount of pills
Myths and facts you should know
Myth: Teens who kill themselves are obviously depressed. Fact: It's not always obvious. Parents are sometimes "the last to know" their teens are so depressed and desperate. Teens are often very good at hiding their problems. While depressed adults may seem deeply sad and hopeless for quite a while, depressed teens may seem happy much of the time as they swing rapidly in and out of depression.
Myth: People who talk about suicide do not do it. Fact: Teens who talk about suicide or wanting to "run away," "get away," "disappear," "end it," or "die" are much more likely to kill themselves than those who do not. Talk of suicide or death should be responded to right away.
Myth: "If he really wanted to kill himself, he would have done something more lethal." Fact: A non-lethal attempt, such as taking a small number of pills or making scratches on the wrist, may be followed by more lethal behavior at a later time. In addition, the non-lethal attempt may indicate deep emotional problems not obvious otherwise. Suicide attempts or "gestures" should be taken very seriously with prompt safeguarding and intervention.
Myth: "She's just doing it to get attention.” Fact: This is true at times, but the behavior can still be lethal. A teen not intending to die may still take too many pills or miscalculate when someone will rescue her.
Published online: 2/07 Source: Teen Suicide, Mood, and Depression (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 7/06)
The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
© COPYRIGHT AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
For help or more information contact any of the following individuals, groups, or agencies:
--Family physician or local/area clinic--Mental Health Center of North Iowa— 641-424-2075, 1-800-700-4692
--Family services, social agencies, or clergy
--Check the phone book under “mental health”, “health”, “social services”, “hotlines” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses.
An emergency room doctor also can provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.
FOR AFTER HOURS HELP CALL:
24 Hours Daily—Confidential--Free
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Teen Help Line: 1-800-443-8336
Teen Help Line is not a crisis or “hotline”. The line provides health information & referral services for Iowa teens.
If you are thinking of harming yourself or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.
--Call your doctor.
--Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
--Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline number for the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
--Make sure you or the suicidal person is not left alone.
Helpful Links for More Information On Suicide
Scroll down the page to find sites with more information.
Mental Health America
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
American Association of Suicidology (AAS)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Screening for Mental Health
American Psychiatric Association (APA)
American Academy of Pediatrics
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)