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Feeling suicidal

If you are thinking about suicide, Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) NOW!

Why do some teens think about suicide? arrow top

Depressed girl.Thinking about suicide often goes along with stressful events and feeling sad. Some teens feel so overwhelmed and sad that they think they will never feel better. Some things that can cause these feelings include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Seeing a lot of anger and violence at home
  • Having parents get divorced
  • Having a hard time in school, struggling with grades or having problems with other teens
  • Depression or alcohol or drug problems
  • Anger or heart-break over a relationship break-up
  • Feeling like you don't belong, either within the family or with friends
  • Feeling left out or alone

Sometimes, teens may feel very sad for no one clear reason. Every teen feels anxiety and confusion at some point, but it helps to get through tough times by turning to people you trust and love. If you don't think you have people like this in your life, talk to a school counselor, teacher, doctor, or another adult who can help you talk about your feelings. There are ways to help teens deal with these intense feelings and work on feeling better in the future.

How common is the problem of teen suicide? arrow top

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for teens. Girls try to commit suicide more often than boys. The important thing for you to know is that it doesn't have to happen. It is also important to know that suicide is not a heroic act, even though sometimes media images can make it seem so. Often, a person who is thinking about attempting suicide isn't able to see that suicide is never the answer to problems. Remember, there is always help out there — as well as support and love — for you or a friend.

How can you help a friend? arrow top

If you have a friend or friends who have talked about suicide, take it seriously. The first thing you should do is to tell an adult you trust — right away. You may wonder if your friend(s) will be mad at you, but telling an adult is the right thing to do. This can be someone in your family, a coach, a school nurse, counselor, or a teacher. You can call 911 or the toll-free number of a suicide crisis line. You can't help your friend(s) alone. They will need a good support system, including friends, family, teachers, and professional help. Suggest that they should talk with a trusted adult. Offer to listen and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Don't ignore their worries or tell them they will get better on their own. Listening shows that you take your friend(s) and their problems seriously and that you are there to help. If someone is in danger of hurting himself or herself, do not leave the person alone. You may need to call 911.

What about you? arrow top

If you feel suicidal, talk to an adult right away. Call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE, or check in your phone book for the number of a suicide crisis center. The centers offer experts who can help callers talk through their problems and develop a plan of action. These hotlines can also tell you where to go for more help in person.

Things may seem bad at times, but those times don't last forever. Your pain right now probably feels like it is too overwhelming to cope with — suicide may feel like the only form of relief. But remember that people do make it through suicidal thoughts. Ask for help — you can feel better. Don't use alcohol or drugs, because they can’t take your problems away. If you can't find someone to talk with, write down your thoughts. Try to remember and write down the things you are grateful for. List the people who are your friends and family, and care for you. Write about your hopes for the future. Read what you have written when you need to remind yourself that your life is IMPORTANT!

There is no reason that you or a friend has to continue hurting. There are ways to find help and hope.

What if someone you know attempts or dies by suicide? arrow top

If someone you know attempts or dies by suicide, it's important to remember that it isn't your fault. You may feel many different emotions: anger, grief, guilt, or you may even feel numb. 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 or use the contact information below. It is important that you feel strong ties with people at this time.

Where else you can go for help arrow top

If you are thinking about suicide:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Boys Town National Hotline

NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness)


Federal resource = This article, publication, website, or organization is from the U.S. government.

Content last reviewed May 18, 2010
Page last updated October 31, 2013