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Teen Depression and Suicide Prevention 

Myths about Teen Suicide

Myth- Teen Suicide is not a problem

Fact: Everyday 12 youth die by suicide;  For every one death, 30 attempts are made; It is the 3rd leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds


Myth- Asking about Suicide causes Suicidal behavior 

Fact: Addressing the topic of suicide in a caring, empathetic, and nonjudgmental way shows that you are taking your child seriously and responding to their emotional pain

Myth- Only a professional can identify risks

Fact: Parents and other caregivers often are the first to recognize warning signs and most able to intervene in a loving way

Warning Signs of Teen Depression

4 out of 5 teen suicide attempts are preceded by clear warning signs, so make sure to know them. A warning sign does not mean your child will attempt suicide, but do not ignore warning signs. Respond to your child immediately, thoughtfully and with loving concern. Don’t dismiss a threat as a cry for attention!


    •    Changes in personality: sadness, withdrawal, irritability, anxiety, exhaustion, indecision

    •    Changes in behavior: deterioration in social relationships and school and/or work performance, reduced involvement in positive activities

    •    Sleep disturbance: insomnia, oversleeping; nightmares

    •    Changes in eating Habits: loss of appetite, weight loss, or overeating

    •    Fear of losing control: erratic behavior, harming self or others

Teen Depression  Risk Factors 

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          Previous suicide attempt(s) or a Mental health disorders (depression, anxiety)

    •    Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, loneliness, worthlessness, low self-esteem

    •    Loss of interest in friends, hobbies, or activities previously enjoyed

    •    Bullying or being a bully at school or in social settings

    •    Disruptive behavior or aggressive 

    •    High risk behaviors (drinking and driving, poor decision-making), substance use

    •    Recent/serious loss (death, divorce, separation, broken romantic relationship,)

    •    Family history of suicide

    •    Family violence (domestic violence, child abuse or neglect)

    •    Sexual orientation and identity confusion (lack of support or bullying during the coming out process)

    •    Access to lethal means like firearms, pills, knives or illegal drugs

    •    Stigma associated with seeking mental health services

    •    Barriers to accessing mental health services (lack of bilingual service providers, unreliable transportation, financial costs)

Protective Factors 

          Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and handling problems in a nonviolent way

    •    Strong connections to family, friends, and community support

    •    Restricted from lethal means of suicide

    •    Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation

    •    Easy access to services

    •    Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships

Preventative Measures

          Interact with your teen positively (give consistent feedback, compliments)

    •    Increase involvement in positive activities (clubs/sports/school functions)

    •    Appropriately monitor your teen’s whereabouts and communications (texting, Facebook, Twitter) with the goal of promoting safety

    •    Be aware of your teen’s social environment (friends, teammates, coaches) and communicate regularly with other parents in your community.

    •    Communicate regularly with your teen’s teachers to ensure safety at school

    •    Limit your teen’s access to alcohol, prescription pills, illegal drugs, knives and guns

    •    Talk with your teen about your concerns; ask him/her directly about suicidal thoughts

    •    Explain the value of therapy and medication to manage symptoms.

    •    Address your concerns with other adults in your child’s life (teachers, coaches, family)

    •    Discuss your concerns with his/her pediatrician and seek mental health referrals

Talk to your Teen about Suicide 

          Talk in a calm, non-accusatory manner

    •    Express loving concern

    •    Convey how important he/she is to you

    •    Focus on your concern for your teen’s well-being and health

    •    Make “I” statements to convey you understand the stressors he/she may be experiencing

    •    Encourage professional help-seeking behaviors (locate appropriate resources)

    •    Reassure your adolescent that seeking services can change his/her outlook

Seek Mental Health Services 

  1. Take appropriate action to protect your child and if you hear a parent making any of the following statements: 


    •    If you feel that something is “just not right”

    •    If you notice warning signs

    •    If you recognize a child has many of the risk factors and few of the protective factors listed above


Contact our San Diego teenage counseling service, and we can help! You can reach us at: 619-549-0329

    •    We are mental health providers who specialize in children and teenagers. We provide individual, group and family counseling to increase the protective factors to prevent suicide and suffering from depression, anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness.  

Lastly, parents must participate actively in their child’s and teenager's counseling in San Diego. 

San Diego Access and Crisis Line

Phone: (888) 724-7240
Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. The San Diego Access and Crisis Line serves as a suicide prevention/intervention hotline.

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