September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.
This is an important time to talk to your teen about suicide, and how to prevent it. As a parent, you may feel like you don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you have a productive conversation with your teen about suicide.
Start the Conversation Early
It’s never too early to talk to your teenager about suicide. In fact, the sooner you start the conversation, the better. By talking about suicide early on, you can help your teenager understand that it’s an issue that should be taken seriously. You can also set the tone for future conversations about suicide, and help your child feel more comfortable talking about the topic.
Be Open and Honest
When you’re talking to your teen about suicide, it’s important to be open and honest. Avoid downplaying the seriousness of suicide, or making light of it in any way. This can make your child feel like they can’t talk to you about suicide, or that their feelings aren’t valid. Instead, let them know that you’re there for them, and that they can come to you with anything they’re feeling.
Listen Without Judgment
It’s also important to listen without judgment when you’re talking to your teenager about suicide. If your child opens up to you about their feelings, try not to judge them or tell them they’re wrong. Instead, listen without interruption, and let them know that their feelings are valid. This can help your teenager feel heard and understood, and encourage them to keep talking to you about suicidal thoughts in the future.
Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month is an important time for parents of teenagers. Talking to your teen about suicide can be difficult, but it’s important to have these conversations early and often. By being open and honest, and listening without judgment, you can help your teen feel comfortable talking about their feelings with you. This can ultimately help prevent suicide attempts in the future.
Suicide Prevention Resources for Parents
If you’re a parent who is looking for more information on how to talk to your teen about suicide, there are plenty of resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for how to talk to someone who may be suicidal. You can also visit their website at https://988lifeline.org/
The JED Foundation (https://www.jedfoundation.org/) is another great resource for parents. JED is a national nonprofit that works to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for teens and young adults. They have a wealth of information on their website, including a blog, discussion guides, and tips for talking to your teen about mental health topics like depression and anxiety.
No one wants to think about their child harming themselves, but as parents, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves on the warning signs of suicide and what we can do to help prevent it. If you’re concerned that your child may be at risk, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. And remember, you’re not alone—there are plenty of resources available to support you through this process.