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Young Person Suicide (warning: a tough read)

Mental health is not something that I shy away from. My mother committed suicide and although I don’t suffer from mental health issues, I have seen family members struggle. If you notice signs or feel that a young person is at risk of suicide, intervening can save a life.

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Devastating small numbers

The press run stories of young people committing suicide, but it’s a rare event. Although teenage suicides in England and Wales have increased by 67% in the last 8 years, it translates to just over 5 in 100,000 teenagers in England, up from just over 3 in 100,000 in 2010.

Threat or bluff

Many young people consider using the threat of suicide as a weapon, but it's most likely to be a bluff. However, parents need understand the difference between bluffs aimed to control and true suicidal feelings. 

Pressure points

Suicidal behaviour varies, so here are some signs:

  • lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
  • appearing more tearful
  • not wanting to talk or be with people
  • not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
  • odd eating, drinking or sleeping patterns
  • using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • finding it hard to cope with everyday things
  • appearing restless and agitated
  • not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don’t matter

What you can do?

Don’t despair, as mental health is recognised by society, but many young people still find it hard to reach out for help. Here are ideas to deal with a young person in a crisis:

  • Listen carefully and ask how they feel in a calm way.
  • Reassure them that it’s ok to talk about their distress and that they have your support.
  • Offer help via Samaritans, their Doctor or a counsellor.
  • Don’t take it personally, as you may be too close and they don’t want to share their thoughts.
  • Don’t give ultimatums, as it may drive their behaviour underground.
  • Understand your own feelings, as you may need your own advice and support.

Parenting isn’t the easiest of jobs. Asking for support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help a young person, if you are not being supported yourself.

ChildMax pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave looking after a sick child. Premiums start from £49.50 or pay monthly for easy budgeting. Get a quote with 5 questions in one-minute and buy a policy with 12 questions.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.

Important: If concerned, please seek advice from your nearest NHS crisis resolution team (CRT). CRTs mental health care professionals, who work with people experiencing severe psychological and emotional distress.



Date: 20 May 2019 by Max Robinson