It's a sad truth that teens sometimes think about ending their lives. If you are feeling awful, you may think that suicide is the only answer — but it's not! Don't let suicide be the ending of your story. People want to help, and you can feel better. We here at girlshealth.gov want to help. We answer some common questions about suicide:
- Why do some teens think about suicide?
- How can I help a friend who has suicidal thoughts?
- What if I am thinking about suicide?
- What if someone I know attempts or dies by suicide?
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, contact the Lifeline suicide hotline by chat or by phone at 800-273-TALK (8255). If there is an immediate risk, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Why do some teens think about suicide? top
Some teens feel so terrible and overwhelmed that they think life will never get better. Some things that may cause these feelings include:
- The death of someone close
- Having depression or other mental health issues, such as an eating disorder, ADHD, or anxiety
- Having alcohol or drug problems
- Parents getting divorced
- Seeing a lot of anger and violence at home
- Having a hard time in school
- Being bullied
- Having problems with friends
- Experiencing a trauma like being raped or abused
- Being angry or heartbroken over a relationship break-up
- Feeling like you don't belong, either in your family or with friends
- Feeling rejected because of something about you, like being gay
- Having an ongoing illness or disability
- Feeling alone
- Feeling guilty or like a burden to other people
Also, teens sometimes may feel very bad for no one clear reason.
If you are suffering, know that things definitely can get better. You can learn ways to handle your feelings. You can work toward a much brighter future.
Turning to others can help you through tough times. If you don't feel a strong connection to relatives or friends, try talking to a school counselor, teacher, doctor, or another adult you trust.
A serious issue
Suicide is one of the leading causes of teen deaths. Girls think about and attempt suicide more often than boys.
Every teen feels anxiety, sadness, and confusion at some point. The important thing to remember is that life can get much better. There is always help out there for you or a friend.
How can I help a friend who has suicidal thoughts? top
If you think a friend is in immediate danger from suicide call 911 and do not leave him or her alone.
If you think a friend is considering suicide but you're not sure, you can look for some signs. These include:
- Talking about not wanting to live
- Talking about looking for ways to die, like trying to get pills or a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or being in horrible pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Acting very nervous or on edge
- Doing dangerous things
- Sleeping a lot more than before or very little
- Not wanting to be around other people
- Changing quickly from one strong mood to another
- Doing some type of self-injury, like cutting
- Acting full of rage or talking about getting revenge
- Giving away favorite things
If a friend seems suicidal, ask the person to talk to you about what's going on. Listening shows you care. Remember, though, that you cannot help the person on your own. Encourage your friend to contact a suicide hotline. Suggest that your friend talk to an adult, and possibly offer to go with him or her.
Even if your friend does not want to talk with an adult, you need to tell one as quickly as possible. This can be a relative, school nurse, counselor, teacher, or coach, for example. If you are worried that your friend will be mad, remember that you are doing the right thing. You could save your friend's life.
What if I'm thinking about suicide? top
If you are thinking about suicide, get help right away. You can contact the Lifeline helpline by chat, or call 800-273-TALK (8255). The people there can talk with you about your problems and help you make a plan to stay safe. They also can give you information about ways to get help in person.
If you are in immediate danger of hurting yourself, call 911. You also can go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Right now, your pain may feel too overwhelming to handle. Suicide may feel like the only way to get relief when you're suffering. But people get past suicidal thoughts, and things can get better. You can watch a video about a woman who survived suicide and went on to lead a wonderful life. Below, you can get some ideas on how to feel better.
You can find ways to feel better. Writing is one way to lower your pain. You might list things that you love or your hopes for the future. You also can hang up photos, messages, and other things that remind you that life is worth living. Also, reach out to people who care about you. For more ideas, you can read a blog by teens who have struggled and found ways to feel better.
Don't try using drugs or alcohol to feel better. These things will not solve your problems. They will only create more problems.
What if someone I know attempts or dies by suicide? top
If someone you know attempts or dies by suicide, you may feel like it's your fault in some way. That's not true! You also may feel many different emotions, including anger, grief, or even emotional numbness. All of your feelings are okay. There is not a right or wrong way to feel.
If you are having trouble dealing with your feelings, talk to a trusted adult. You have suffered a terrible loss, but life can feel okay again. Reach out to people who care about you. Connecting is so important at this tough time.
Content last reviewed January 07, 2015
Page last updated February 13, 2015