If a child says he or she is seriously considering suicide or has just made a suicide attempt, immediate treatment at an emergency room may be necessary.
“It’s important to not panic because one of the most important things is to get more information and get the fullest picture possible of what’s going on,” says McKeon. He advises anyone worried about suicide—including family members, friends and teachers—to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and get an assessment from a trained professional 24/7.
Because teens are more likely to communicate online than make a phone call, Lifeline recently added a chat function to their website. Lifeline can evaluate a person’s risk of suicide and identify mental health providers in your area who are specifically trained to handle suicide risk.
“The care, concern and support of friends and family can often be life-saving to someone who is in psychological pain and thinking of suicide,” says Boesky.
As a parent, you can stay better connected with your kids by getting to know their friends and being aware of the pressures they’re under. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and most importantly, be supportive, no matter what they’re going through. If you suspect a mental disorder, substance abuse problem or suicidal risk, take action immediately. The biggest mistake is doing nothing.