If you are experiencing a suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8

If you are seeking emotional support and mental health resources, please contact the Be Well Crisis Helpline at 2-1-1

Teens, Depression and Firearms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10–24 years, accounting for 7,126 deaths. Additionally, suicide rates for this age group increased 52.2% between 2000-2021.

The national youth survey conducted by the CDC showed that 17% of high school students surveyed had seriously considered attempting suicide within the last year.

For people of all ages, access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by three times.

Signs to look out for when concerned that a loved one may be suicidal:

  • Prolonged sadness and depression

  • Changes in mood or behavior

  • Hopelessness

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Withdrawing/Isolation

  • Aggression or agitation

  • Increased alcohol or drug use

  • Talking about killing themselves

What you can do

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.

  1. Be direct and ask if they have thought about suicide. Asking about suicide will not put the idea in their head.

  2. 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 988. Do not keep it a secret!

  3. 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.

Suicidal crises are more lethal with firearms

  • Gun owners are NOT more likely to think about or attempt suicide. 
  • Gun owners are more likely to die in a suicide attempt because of the lethality of a firearm. 

Mental health resources

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 9-8-8 or chat 988lifeline.org

Trevor Project, the LGBTQ youth suicide prevention line: 1-866-488-7386

Indiana Suicide Prevention Network (ISPN)

To learn more about depression and suicide in preteens and teens, go to: