According to the Washington State Department of Health, 2 to 3 youth ages 15-24 die by suicide every week in Washington State. Suicide is becoming more and more common among youth, effecting people from of all races, genders, and social classes.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be suicidal, it is important to address the situation immediately. Mentioning suicide will not give the person the idea to do so or push them over the edge. Talking about your concerns can prevent a suicide attempt from occurring and potentially save a life.
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
- Dropping hints or talking about suicide, for example:
- “I can’t take this any longer.”
- “I wish this would all stop.”
- “I want to fall asleep and never wake up.”
- Giving away prized possessions
- Being very obsessive and perfectionist
- Increase in risky behavior (driving recklessly, increased drug and alcohol use/abuse, etc.)
Consider the following questions to help determine the urgency:
- Are there three or more warning signs?
- Yes, that is red flag #1!
- Have warning signs been present for two weeks or longer?
- Yes, that is red flag #2!
- How extreme or severe are the changes?
- If the changes are extreme for that person, that is red flag #3!
These are guidelines not rules, so trust your gut! If you still feel concerned, continue onto a section below.
(Steps 1 & 3 can be used to help a friend in any situation.)
- Show you care.
- Talk to the person in a caring manner.
- Pick a safe, private place to talk and give yourself enough time to talk about anything that might be going on with them.
- Be specific about the warning signs you notice.
- Listen without judging, minimizing feelings or making false promises.
- Ask the question directly:
- “Are you thinking about suicide?”
- Talk to a trusted adult
- This is a big deal; it’s important to have support and resources to help your friend and yourself.
Identifying: Review warning signs and be honest when answering the questions above. Know that it is not your fault. You are not alone. Many teens struggle with suicide. There is hope for you.
During Recovery: Talk to a trusted friend or adult or call Teen Link for support. Search for counseling or support services in your area – there are services specifically for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
After Recovery: Develop your support network; communicate your stresses and fears with family and friends. Teen Link’s phone line or chat service is always an option if you need additional support.
See Teen Link’s “WHERE TO TURN FOR TEENS” pamphlet for a complete list of youth-friendly services.
Teen Link Help Line
Call for assistance in figuring out what to do or just to have someone to talk to. Confidential and anonymous. Available every evening from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Toll Free: 1-866-TEENLINK (833-6546)
24-Hour Crisis Line
Call for immediate assistance or someone to talk to in case of an emergency. Confidential and anonymous. Chat also available during select days/times.
Toll Free: 1-866-4CRISIS (427-4747)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours)
Call for assistance or someone to talk to in case of emergency. Chat also available during select days/times.
Toll Free: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The Trevor Project (24 hours)
Call for assistance or someone to talk to in case of emergency. Focus on LGBTQ individuals. Chat and text available during select days/times.
Toll Free: 1-800-4UTREVOR (488-7386)