Most people who attempt suicide do not die — unless they use a gun. If you think a preteen or teen is depressed or suicidal, don’t wait to help.
Be direct and ask if they have thought about suicide. Asking about suicide will not put the idea in their head.
If they say they have thought about suicide or you think they have thought about it, get help right away and don’t leave them alone. If you’re not the parent or caregiver, tell them. Or, tell the school counselor, a mental health professional or call the crisis line at 800-273-8255. Do not keep it a secret!
If you’re the teen’s caregiver, temporarily remove firearms from your home and when your teen goes to a friend’s home, ask if there is a firearm in their home and how it is stored.
Even if a teen is not thinking about suicide, some additional key steps you can take to support them include: inviting an honest conversation, listening and supporting them, and encouraging them to see a mental health professional or a primary care physician. If you’re not the teen’s caregiver, tell their parent or a trusted adult.
Teach your teen to follow these steps if they are concerned about someone they know.