In teens ages ten to nineteen, the most common method of suicide is by firearm, followed closely by suffocation (mostly hanging) and poisoning. All guns and other weapons should be removed from the house, or at least locked up. Other potentially harmful items such as ropes, cords, sharp knives, alcohol and other drugs, and poisons should also be removed.
Providers and parents should ask regularly about thoughts of suicide. Providers should remind parents that making these inquiries will not promote the idea of suicide.
Behaviors to watch for in children and teens include:
If a child has depression, feels suicidal, and drinks a lot of alcohol, the person is more likely to take his or her life. Parents are usually unaware that their child is drinking. If a child is drinking, the parent will need to discuss this with their child and the clinician.
Work with patients and parents to decide how to proceed if a child feels suicidal. It is important to be specific and provide adolescents with accurate names, phone numbers and addresses.
(Adapted by GLAD-PC with permission from materials prepared by Families for Depression Awareness: http://www.familyaware.org/parentandteenguide.php)