Teen Suicide: What Parents Can Do

Suicide Statistics

Some statistics regarding suicide in the United States might surprise you. For example:

  • Every 60 seconds one young person under the age of 25 attempts suicide.
  • Every 100 minutes a young person succeeds in killing themselves.
  • More Americans die by suicide than by homicide.

While it is often hard to understand why someone might try to kill themselves, suicidal people generally do not actually want to die. Instead, suicide is an attempt to gain control over a situation that can feel hopeless or impossible.

How Parents Can Help

  • Do not allow an at-risk child to be alone.
  • Do not be afraid to ask, "Do you sometimes feel so bad you think of suicide?"
  • Do not be afraid to talk to your child about this subject. Talking can be a relief to a person at risk.
  • Know the warning signs of teen suicide.
  • Take immediate action: Contact a professional if you feel a child is at-risk.
  • Utilize school and community resources (PDF).


The most important thing you can do for your child or adolescent is to simply listen to them. They need to know that someone cares and that someone will listen. Too often when we talk with children we find ourselves getting caught up in having to help them resolve their problems by giving advice. This is not what is needed when they are already feeling hopeless.

Get Professional Help

The most important long-term thing you can do is to link the suicidal person with a network of professional support (PDF) that will result in addressing the underlying cause.