Excerpt from the book “Helping Your Depressed Teenager” by Gerald D. Oster, PhD and Sarah S. Montgomery, MSW

Continues from Part 1.

Parents’ Checklist of Suicide Warning Signs

  • Marked changes in personality.
  • Sudden change in sleeping or eating patterns.
  • Unexplained, significant drop in school or other work responsibilities.
  • Verbal threats of suicide.
  • Loss of interest in usual activities.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Lack of concern about appearance.
  • Lapses of attention and concentration.
  • Dangerous or illegal activities (running away, drug or alcohol abuse).
  • Recent rejection (from friends, clubs).
  • Giving away or throwing away prized possessions.
  • Explosive outbursts.
  • Reading stories or drawing pictures about death.
  • Possession of dangerous weapons.
  • Unexplained cheerfulness after prolonged depression

If your teen is showing several of these signs, it is possible that serious problems are occurring. Attempts at suicide may appear foolish, but they can be deadly. Accidents do happen. Don’t shy away from teenagers just because you think they are trying to get attention. They are trying to get attention and they truly need it. The basic rule in suicide is to DO SOMETHING. It is much better to be wrong in taking action than to not do anything.