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          Dos and Don’ts for Dealing with Suicide

          March 12, 2010

          During the time it takes to tape the Dr. Phil show, 180 people in America will attempt suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2011, someone in the U.S. died by suicide every 13.3 minutes.

          Learn the dos and don’ts of talking to a young adult who may be planning to take his or her life.


          Dos for Parents

          • DO always take suicidal warning signs seriously and respond immediately.
          • DO ask kids directly about it and draw them back.
          • DO watch your child carefully, if he or she seems depressed and withdrawn.
          • DO seek outside help and support for your teen.
          • DO educate yourself on childhood and adolescent depressive illnesses and suicide.
          • DO assure your child he or she can feel better, that suicidal thoughts are only temporary and that there are people who can help.
          • DO know that early intervention is the key to successful treatment for children.
          • DO understand that treatment should be a team approach consisting of psychotherapist/ psychiatrist, parents, relatives, etc.

          Dos for Teens

          • DO take your friend’s actions seriously.
          • DO encourage your friend to seek professional help.
          • DO immediately talk to an adult you trust, if you feel the risk is imminent.
          • DO talk with your friend.
          • DO ask if the person is thinking about suicide.
          • DO listen openly and without judging.

          Don’ts for Parents and Teens

          • DON’T keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret to protect your relationship. You need help in helping. 
          • DON’T lecture on the value of life.
          • DON’T dare him or her to do it.
          • DON’T act shocked. This will put distance between you. 
          • DON’T try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing his or her mind.
          • DON’T give up.

          If someone you know is planning to take his or her life, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).


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