Youth Suicide Prevention

youth suicide

Adolescence is a challenging time for many youth. This period of life is marked by significant cognitive, emotional, social and psychological changes.

Adolescents who have a history of poor coping skills are more at risk for suicide. These teens may feel hopeless and helpless and try to find relief with drugs or alcohol.

Risk Factors

Teenagers often face a lot of stress and pressure in their everyday lives. They’re dealing with peer pressure, bullying, figuring out who they are, and more.

Suicide is a major concern for teens and their families. And a recent study suggests that suicide rates among teens are rising.

Fortunately, you can help your child or teen stay safe from thoughts of suicide by knowing the risk factors and warning signs. You can also talk with them about how to get help if they are struggling.

Children and adolescents with a mental health disorder are at an increased risk of suicide. This includes depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcohol or drug use disorders (substance abuse).

Warning Signs

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults in the United States. This is a serious problem, and people in all walks of life need to be aware of its warning signs.

Risk factors for suicide include a previous suicide attempt, family history of depression or other problems, and experiencing stress in the past. Getting into trouble at school or home can also increase the chances of suicide.

The most important preventive measure is to remove lethal means from a youth’s environment. That can mean keeping firearms out of the house, removing access to acetaminophen or other medications that could be used as a deadly weapon, and making sure a young person does not have access to alcohol or drugs.

Adolescents who have a depressive disorder or other problems can be treated by mental health professionals. They may need help to deal with the underlying issues that cause them to be angry or depressed, and to develop effective coping skills.


Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for adolescents and young adults. It is a major public health problem that needs a comprehensive prevention and intervention strategy.

Adolescents who attempt suicide are usually suffering from a serious mental illness. These include depression, anxiety, and substance abuse or self-harm issues.

Youth who are struggling with emotional problems can get help through medication, behavioral therapy, and family support. These treatments can reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Treatment for teenagers should be individualized. It should take a number of sessions to work with the teenager on identifying the triggers that lead to suicidal behavior and finding ways to deal with those stressors.

If a child or adolescent is having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide, they should be immediately evaluated by a doctor, psychologist, or therapist. They should also be taken to an emergency room in case they have been injured.


Suicide is a preventable and treatable illness that impacts communities, schools, and families. Pediatric health clinicians, adults working with youth in school and community settings, families, and peers can all play an important role in the prevention of suicide.

To help guide clinicians, CDC developed a Blueprint to prevent youth suicide. The Blueprint includes universal, selective, and indicated suicide prevention strategies that clinicians can implement in clinical, community, and advocacy settings.

A key factor in the prevention of youth suicide is to ensure that teens receive the proper care and treatment for any mental illness or substance use disorder they may have. Many major psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and drug induced psychosis, often begin in adolescence and can lead to suicide if they are not properly treated.