How do I get help for my teen?
If you learn that your child is thinking about suicide, get help immediately. Your doctor can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist, or your local hospital’s department of psychiatry can provide a list of doctors in your area. Your local mental health association or county medical society can also provide references. In an emergency, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24/7. You can also call 911.
If your teen is in a crisis situation, your local emergency room can conduct a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and refer you to the appropriate resources. If you’re unsure about whether you should bring your child to the emergency room, contact your doctor or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK for help.
Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional and be sure to keep it, even if your teen says he or she is feeling better. Suicidal thoughts do tend to come and go; however, it is important that your teen gets help developing the skills necessary to decrease the likelihood that suicidal thoughts and behaviors will emerge again if a crisis arises.
If your teen refuses an appointment, discuss this with the mental health professional and consider attending the session and working with the clinician to make sure your teen has access to the help needed. The clinician might also be able to help you devise strategies to help your teen want to get help.
Remember that any ongoing conflicts between a parent and child can fuel the fire for a teen who is feeling isolated, misunderstood, devalued, or suicidal. Get help to air family problems and resolve them in a constructive way. Also let the mental health professional know if there is a history of depression, substance abuse, family violence, or other stressors at home, such as an ongoing environment of criticism.