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14 important tips to guard your teen from suicide

Please be aware of some of the warning signs and risk factors of suicide.  Here’s some do’s and don’ts which might help you, or someone you know:

  1. Do be open and honest with your teen – keep communication open
  2. Don’t be judgemental or say ‘get over it’ (an issue you think is small might be insurmountable to your teen)
  3. Do be aware if your teen withdraws
  4. Do watch for signs of self-harm
  5. Do be vigilant for changes in your child’s ‘normal’ behaviours
  6. Do watch the behaviours of your child’s friendship circles
  7. Do evaluate any signs of bullying or cyberbullying
  8. Do approach authorities, the school and/or Police
  9. Do take your child to a Counsellor
  10. Do not think your child (or anyone for that matter) is attention seeking if they speak of suicide
  11. Do watch out for your child engaging in dangerous or high-risk behaviours (often this happens in the hope that death will occur)
  12. Do not be afraid to ask if he or she is thinking about suicide, or is depressed
  13. Do not leave the person alone
  14. Do ask your teen to give you any weapons, objects etc which may cause them harm
Teen male with head in his hands, eyes closed and looking despondent
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, get help now

Don’t leave your teen alone

It has been posited that a social causality to suicidality might be the breakdown in our communities and the silo effect this has left us, with little or no support.  Therefore, it is important to have these difficult conversations.  If you think someone may be having suicidal thoughts, talk to them and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Don’t leave them alone and ensure they have no access to sharp objects, drugs, medications, or a car. 

Never promise to keep it a secret because they need professional help. Have them promise they’ll tell you or another adult if they are feeling like this again.  Having them see a doctor for mental health assessment will help, as well developing a suicide safety plan.  Beyond Blue (2022) has an online safety plan which can be developed and printed or emailed. 

In an emergency call triple zero (000). 

Teen male with black eye, ear pieces in ears and looking at his phone while male adult tries to make eye contact with raised hand gesture talk to a professional about suicide

Resources and Suicide support

  • Call Lifeline (24-hour crisis support) on 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Contact the Suicide Call Back Service (phone and online counselling) — 1300 659 467.
  • Kids Helpline offers online and phone counselling to young people aged 5 to 25 — call 1800 55 1800 or chat online.
  • Beyond Blue provides information, counselling and support for mental health — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Beyond Now is a phone app that helps a person stay safe when experiencing suicidal thoughts.

State- and territory-based services

Want more information?  Dr Maguire’s book Selfies, sexting, suicide and savagery: Welcome to the era of narcissism  was released in 2017.  You can order by email.  Want a Now Generation consultant to speak at your conference, school, organisational masterclass? Contact Lynette