Teen Suicide

Every child or teen is unique in how they experience the world and talk about their feelings. Some young people are open about their sad or negative feelings, and others are more quiet or reserved about their pain or suffering. If you are concerned that your child is struggling and thinking about suicide, ask them about it. Some parents worry that asking about suicide directly will make the child feel worse but that is not accurate. Asking your child demonstrates that you are aware of their pain and opens the door to a conversation about getting help.

What are some of the warning signs of a teen contemplating suicide?

  • Thinking about suicide, talking about suicide or ways of harming self, writing about death or dying or other types of suicidal ideation
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Reckless behaviour
  • A sense of purposelessness or worthlessness or feeling that there is no reason to live
  • A sense of being trapped or not being able to change their situation or problems
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling uncontrollable anger or rage, having angry outbursts, feelings of revenge
  • Increased substance use
  • Reckless or impulsive risk-taking behaviour
  • Expressing being a burden to others
  • Eating and sleeping problems

Signs Of Depression in Teens

Some of these symptoms can also be experienced by teens that are experiencing anxiety, depression or another mental health condition, so it is important to ask your child directly about suicide. If you think your child shows the warning signs of suicide, it’s important to trust your parental instincts and seek more information and professional help.

There are some important risk factors and protective factors that contribute to young people being more vulnerable or resilient from suicide. It’s important to recognize these and work towards building greater protective factors for young people.

Risk Factors

  • A family history of suicide
  • A recent loss or death of a loved one
  • A psychiatric disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Access to lethal means of harming self (e.g., medication or firearms)
  • Struggles with sexual orientation or gender identity in an environment that is unsupportive of these orientations.
  • A lack of social supports
  • Bullying
  • Cultural or faith-based beliefs that support suicide as a acceptable way of rectifying a personal dilemma
  • Barriers to accessing help

Protective Factors

  • Strong connections to family and friends and community
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Access to good and effective medical and mental health services
  • Limited access to lethal means of harming self
  • Cultural or faith-based beliefs that condemn suicide as an option to solve problems

If you have concerns that your child is struggling with thoughts of suicide, talk to them. Then reach out for professional support immediately. Often parents feel overwhelmed and wonder if they are doing the “right thing”. Here are a few reminders about what’s important to emphasize if your child is suffering with thoughts of suicide.

  • Express empathy – acknowledge their painful feelings and express that you are there for them no matter what
  • Check in often – in person, by phone, by text
  • Minimize conflict at home – try to focus on more calm, neutral and positive feelings at home. Don’t highlight the little things that frustrate you about your teen.
  • Tell and show your child that you love them. Remind them of how important they are to you.
  • Spend time together. Make space in your life for your teen, even if they don’t always let you in.

Supporting a child who is struggling with ideas about suicide can cause immense stress and worry. It is important for parents to connect their teen to a therapist that is a good fit for them, someone they feel comfortable talking to and that they can trust. It’s also helpful if parents can receive therapy and/or participate in the therapy with their child.

An Overview of Counselling at the Centre

Depending on your teen’s situation, there are a variety of routes we can take with their counselling. First sessions generally serve as consultations to get a better understanding of your teen’s unique situation. From there, we may work with your child over a handful of sessions or a longer period of time. We have found that counselling is a truly healing experience for many teens, and talking through their issues is a great way for them to reconnect to themselves and their families. Being seen, heard, known, and understood is extremely important for everyone – and no less for a teen navigating new emotions and experiences. Through our sessions, we will help your teen work through their emotions and build positive relationships.

Are You Interested In Exploring Therapy For Your Teen?

Simply put, counselling works: It can help your teen feel better and lead to a positive shift within your family.

We welcome and encourage questions. Our FAQ page may be able to address some of these.

If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to one of our Client Care Coordinators. They should help clear up questions you may have about finding a therapist that fits your teen’s needs and personality and how counselling works at the Toronto Counselling Centre for Teens. All calls are commitment-free. We can address any further questions or concerns and/or connect you to a therapist that can meet your needs.

Or, if you’re ready you can also book a time yourself! Meet the team or book now.

Toronto Counselling Centre for Teens:
Supporting Your Journey Towards Wellness

Learn more about how our counsellors can help with depression by contacting us at 416-565-4504 or by email at info@counsellingtorontoteens.com. Ready to take that first step? book your appointment today — it’s always the right time to try.

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267 Runnymede Rd,
Toronto, ON, M6S 2Y5