Parents play an important role in supporting their child. During adolescence, children begin to share less with their parents and teachers, and confide in their peers about problems they face. It is important that parents are aware of risk and protective factors regarding suicide.
If you believe your child is experiencing thoughts of suicide, it is important to address the issue directly:
- Ask your child, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”
- Be empathic towards your child with his or her answer. Let them know you are there for them.
- Provide support to your child considering suicide by taking them to the emergency room for an evaluation.
- Provide ongoing support through mental health counseling either through the school or in the community so your child can receive help with their suicidal thoughts.
- Get support for yourself by seeking out counseling or parent support groups.
- Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and protective factors around suicide.
- Be aware of community resources that specialize in assisting youth with thoughts of suicide.
Suicide Prevention Resources
Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention
This webpage is a joint project between the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health. There are excellent materials throughout this document that could benefit the school mental health professional and any advocate for prevention.
Not My Kid: What Parents Should Know About Teen Suicide
Not My Kid is a 17-minute video that features eight parents from culturally diverse backgrounds asking two mental health professionals (Lanny Berman and Maureen Underwood) a variety of common questions about youth suicide.
SPRC Information for Parents/Guardians/Families
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is a national federally supported resource center focused on advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This center is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
AFSP Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that raises awareness, funds scientific research, and provides aid and resources to people affected by suicide.
Warning Signs of Suicide Risk
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is a charitable, nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to promote the prevention and understanding of suicide, and provide support to those it has affected.
The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
This website provides information and guidance to parents on how to talk to their teenagers about suicide, suicide contagion or the death of a friend by suicide.
NASP Suicide Information for Parents & Educators
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a professional association that works to promote effective practices and improve students’ learning, behavior, and mental health.
Know the Signs
Know the Signs is a California suicide prevention social marketing campaign with the message: “Know the signs. Find the words. Reach out.” This campaign aims to educate Californians how to recognize the signs of suicide, have a direct conversation with someone in crisis, and assist them with finding professional help and resources.
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Services
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Services is staffed by professional and knowledgeable experts offering training, support and services to suicide survivors, and loved ones whose family members or friends have died by suicide.
Asian American Suicide Prevention and Education
Provides educational flyers, brochures and information in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese.
Mental Health Resources
HEARD Alliance Resources for Families
The HEARD Alliance is in the San Francisco Bay area. They are a community alliance of health care professionals aiming to increase collaboration between healthcare professionals and educators to promote well-being, treat depression and related conditions, and prevent suicide in adolescents and young adults.
NASP Resource - Supporting Children’s Mental Health
This NASP resource focuses on supporting mental health in children and adolescents.
NASP Resource – Building Resiliency
This NASP resource focuses on building resiliency in children and adolescents.
Coalition to Support Grieving Students
The Coalition to Support Grieving Students is a collaboration of educators, administrators, school board members, clerical staff, and school mental health staff who have come together to support the common conviction, “grieving students need the support and care of the school community.” The Coalition’s mission is to create and share resources that empower school communities across the nation in the ongoing care and support of their grieving students. This link has information on modules for educators as well as parents.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
This website provides resources for parents with children who have experienced trauma.
Social Emotional Learning in the Home
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the world’s leading organization advancing the integration of academic, social, and emotional learning for all children in preschool through high school. CASEL believes parents and families are critical partners in helping their children develop social and emotional skills and has created resources to support parents.
NASP Trauma Facts and Tips
This NASP resource defines types of trauma, risk factors and reactions to trauma, as well as phone numbers and web resources that address trauma.
NASP Resource - Care for Caregivers
This NASP resource describes self-care strategies for caregivers.
CDC Resource: The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide
This brief manual from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviews the relationship between bullying and suicide and offers suggestions and resources for schools.
The Stopbullying.gov website has information and resources about bullying and cyberbullying for parents, educators, teens and kids.
International Association for Suicide Prevention
Resources about bullying and suicide in youth.
Cyberbullying.org has the top 10 prevention tips for teens in PDF.
This resource gives suggesting in preventing cyberbullying and ways to protect yourself from cyberbullying.
This cyberbullying prevention site gives advice specific to teens.
Internet Safety Resources
This website offers an interactive educational safety workshop by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America for children aged 5 to 17.
Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media - Provides information on child and youth movies, websites, and books so that parents can make informed decisions about what their child is viewing.
Why You Should Be Spying On Your Kids (Video)
This Tedx talk is by Richard Wistocki who has been in law enforcement for over 30 years. He has spent many years as a detective investigating internet crimes against children.
TV Series Resources
This Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) resource has links to assist parents, educators, and students about the Netflix Series: 13 Reasons Why.
NASP Considerations for Educators
This National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) handout is a resource for educators, families and students about the Netflix Series: 13 Reasons Why.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, and Questioning Resources
Compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ youth are 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide and six times more likely to have a higher level of depression. When there is an attempt, LGBTQ+ youth tend to have suicide attempts that are more serious than other youth.
Lead with Love
What do I do if my child is gay? Lead With Love is a 35-minute documentary created to help answer that question.
Tres Gotas de Agua
Tres madres inmigrantes Latinas hablan sobre el proceso de sus hijos(as) al declararse gay o 'salir del clóset', expresando mensajes poderosos sobre el amor incondicional y la aceptación de las personas LGBTQ+ como parte de las familias Latinas.
NASP Gender Inclusive Schools
This resource from the National Association of School Psychologists provides information on counseling and supporting students and families.
SAMHSA Resource – A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support their LGBTQ+ Children
This resource from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers information to help practitioners in schools and community agencies assist families and caregivers to support their LGBTQ+ children.
CDC LGBTQ+ Heatlh
The CDC LGBTQ+ Health section has many resources to help administrators, teachers, and school mental health staff support LGBTQ+ students.
NAMI LGBTQ+ Resources
This website has LGBTQ+ community information on stigma, suicide, substance abuse and mental health services.
Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)
PFLAG is a national nonprofit organization whose members and supporters have affiliates throughout the United States.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a leading national organization providing crisis intervention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth under 25.
Welcomingschools.org is a professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to embrace all families, create LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.