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Statements That are Signs of Suicide

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This is the second of two posts addressing this subject with information from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside, give verbal hints with statements such as:

  • “I won’t be a problem for you much longer” 
  • “Nothing matters” 
  • “It’s no use”, and 
  • “I won’t see you again”

They will put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc., or become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression, have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts).

If a child or adolescent says, “I want to kill myself” or “I’m going to commit suicide”, always take the statement seriously and immediately seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional.

People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than putting thoughts in the child’s head, such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.

If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional help from a physician or a qualified mental health professional.With support from family and appropriate treatment, children and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a more healthy path of development.

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.