What can parents, family and friends do?
What can parents, family and friends do?
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The suicides of two beloved figures last week — both hugely successful and surrounded by family, friends and admirers — remind us how insidious depression can be. And the CDC reports that the suicide rate has risen alarmingly in over the last two decades: more than 30% in half of states. The most important thing we can do to fight suicide is to help people who are in distress, including young people, open up about their painful feelings. How? If you are worried that someone might be considering suicide, ask them about it. Share your concern. Offer support. Parents, family members and friends often hesitate because they are afraid that asking about suicide might trigger it. But research shows that the opposite is true:  it makes people feel better understood and opens up the conversation to finding help. It’s silence that’s toxic.
Support and treatment don’t always work, but they very often do, saving lives and sparing families and friends the terrible anguish that suicide leaves in its wake. Andrew Solomon, a gifted writer who has struggled with major depression, wrote this week about many other steps we can take to prevent suicides, including the half that are carried out with firearms. “Suicide is often impulsive, and, if the means do not spring to hand, the impulse passes and people go on to good lives.”
This week on childmind.org we have gathered resources on depression and suicide. If you are concerned about someone you know, pay special attention to the article What to Do if You're Worried About Suicide. If you need help for yourself or someone else, don’t hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or on their online chat.
Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, President

What to Do if You're Worried About Suicide

A parents guide to helping children in distress.

Lessons From a Depressed Childhood 

Daphne Merkin offers some advice to both parents and kids.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers? 

Signs your child might be more than moody.

Teen Suicides: What Are the Risk Factors?

Temperament, family and community all play a role.

Coping With a Parent's Suicide

How to help the children who are left behind.

Supporting Children After the Suicide of a Classmate

Responding to a painful loss in the healthiest way possible.

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