Teen Suicide Risk Factors

School Psychologists are often called upon to assist when our students experience thoughts of suicide or have been hospitalized for suicidal ideation.  This happens more frequently than any of us would like.

I had the opportunity recently to speak to the faculty at my high school about suicide prevention and intervention, including common warning signs.  This article from the Child-Mind Institute provides an excellent overview of some of the more typical “red flags” for teen suicide, including recent losses, substance abuse, bullying, and access to lethal means.

Not only does the article provide risk factors, but it also addresses some of the “protective factors,” or things that can help mitigate risk for suicide.  These include good problem-solving abilities, strong connections to others, and access to service/supports for any physical, mental or substance abuse needs.  Although we may not always have the power to erase any of those risk factors from a child’s life, what we can do is emphasize, support and help build upon those protective factors the child needs to cope effectively with life’s challenges.

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