Tips for Parents to Help Prevent Teen Suicide

    (Beth Dubber/Netflix via AP)

    Audio clip:

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with adolescent suicides on the rise, it may be a chance for parents to reach out to their kids and make sure lines of communication are open.

    FOX’s Lisa Brady has more in this week’s FOX on Family:

    The Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’ got people talking about a growing problem, teen suicide:

    (Dr. Skillings) “Unfortunately for adolescents, and the way they measure this is like age 10-24, suicide is actually now the second cause of death behind accidents; it’s about 17 percent of all adolescent deaths.”

    Doctor Jared Skillings, Chief of Psychology for Spectrum Health, says the 24-hour, inescapable nature of social media can add to a sense of hopelessness, both for victims of bullying, for instance, and parents:

    (Dr. Skillings) “Even if kids really want to stay connected on social media, you have to decide at what point it’s too much.”

    Strive to create a safe zone. Also ask if they’re doing okay with the other kids at school and be prepared for them to say no, or ask for help from someone who is:

    (Dr. Skillings) “If you’re really not able or willing to hear that, then understand that your kid’s gonna pick up on that.”

    Skillings urges parents: Take what your kids say seriously. And offer support and confidence-building as often as needed to make sure they know they’re not alone.

    With FOX on Family, I’m Lisa Brady.

    Doctor Jared Skillings is Chief of Psychology for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He says the two primary psychological reasons for suicide are feelings of hopelessness and lack of support, so addressing those can make preventing suicide much more likely. He also encourages anyone who has concern about someone potentially suicidal to reach out to that person, or to a professional, and to volunteer to go with them for help.