Parenting

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Dos and Don'ts for Dealing with Suicide

During the time it takes to tape the Dr. Phil show, 180 people in America will attempt suicide. Every 90 minutes, a teenager or young adult dies by suicide. 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  • DO watch your child carefully, if he or she seems depressed and withdrawn.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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