Information for Adults and Parents

What Parents Need to Know About Suicide

As adults, we see youth as having their whole lives ahead of them … the world at their doorstep.  Why would a young person – a teenager want to take his or her own life?  There are about as many answers to that question as there are teenagers.  The fact is, every year in our country, more than 5,000 teens die as a result of suicide.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, last year, 17 percent of 9th -12th grade students in our country seriously considered attempting suicide … and almost 14 percent actually made a plan as to how they would attempt suicide. That is frightening!

What can adults and parents do to prevent the tragedy of suicide?

Pay Attention to These Warning Signs …

  • Adolescence is a difficult time for youth and parents. Sometimes, it is hard to know when moodiness and irritability are something to be concerned about or just a normal part of adolescence.  If you notice that your teen is sad, unhappy, irritable or angry most of the time, take action!
  • When we are sad and depressed, we often withdraw from others. If your teen is withdrawing from friends and activities he/she once enjoyed, take action!
  • When we suffer losses in our lives, we may become sad or depressed. When we suffer multiple losses in our lives, we may begin to feel hopeless.  If your teen has broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, has failed a test or class, has gotten into trouble, is being bullied or alienated by his or her peers, or has lost status or standing in their peer group, take action!
  • Sometimes, teens engage in behaviors that put them at risk. If your teen is engaging in “risky behaviors”, such as alcohol or drug use, driving too fast, or engaging in other behaviors that could result in serious injury or death, take action!
  • People, who are depressed, often have difficulties with sleep. If your teen is having trouble sleeping, take action!  

Monitor Your Child's Involvement in Social Media 

When youth obtain their first phone or begin exploring the internet, they have access to a world of information.  Most of this information is not dangerous or dark, but there are many sites that can provide information that can be dangerous to your child.

As a parent, you want and need to protect your children from entering on-line sites that can be dangerous to their well-being.  Yet, it is difficult to find the time to do that.

We suggest parents consider bark, an application that will send you messages if your child is visiting sites that you prohibit them from entering or if their viewing history or messaging indicates that they may be discussing or obtaining information about suicide or violence, viewing suggestive material, or seeking other inappropriate content.

We suggest that parents visit to learn more about bark.  For less than $100 per year, you can monitor your child's social media exposure and take action to prevent a crisis before it happens.

bark logo large