If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support at 988.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and with suicide being the second-leading cause of death for people ages 15-19 in the United States, it is more critical than ever to

talk openly and honestly about suicide with young people.

Teen suicides have been on a sharp increase in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of teen deaths from suicide is up 35% from 1999, with 10-12 deaths per 100,000 15-19-year-olds.

Researchers have identified a combination of contributing factors for this trend, including the isolation of the global pandemic, socio-economic, societal and cultural stressors, excessive social media use, uncertainty about the future, climate change and other unique challenges that this generation of teenagers are facing.   

Also, data cited in an article by Charlie Health shows that certain groups are more at risk than their peers. “A survey from the Trevor Project in 2022 found that 45% of all LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered suicide within the past year. Suicides amongst Black youth have also increased, partly due to increased racial discrimination and trauma radiating from incidents of public police brutality.” 

In recognition of these alarming numbers, the Health Resources and Services Administration recently updated its national guidelines to mandate suicide risk screening for those ages 12 to 21. Meanwhile, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration pledged $7.3 million to a suicide prevention program focused on tribal youth and early intervention to aid students in juvenile justice systems, foster care, and mental health treatment centers.


While increasing awareness through a national conversation with young people about the issue is important, it is also important to understand that we can all play a part in suicide prevention. We can listen to our children with an open mind and compassion, support them in finding help and healing and remind them that there is hope.

The National Alliance on Mental Health provides a helpful guide with the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide and recommended actions to take:

Warning Signs

  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Signs of a Psychiatric Emergency

Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If you or a loved one starts to take any of the following steps, seek immediate help from a healthcare provider or call 911:

  • Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
  • Giving away possessions
  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess.


The behaviors of a person experiencing a crisis can be unpredictable, changing dramatically without warning. There are a few ways to approach a suicide crisis:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
  • Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills.
  • Calmly ask simple and direct questions, like “Can I help you call your psychiatrist/therapist?”
  • If there are multiple people around, have one person speak at a time.
  • Express support and concern.
  • Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice.
  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong.
  • It is ok to be nervous. Just communicate you care.
  • Be patient.

If you are concerned about your child and their emotional well-being, we are here to help. Please contact info@evergreenpsychotherapy.com for more information.