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Suicidal Teen

Question:

I have a young teenager who is having a problem with a guy friend. He is a good kid in general, but recently he apparently attempted suicide. My teenager is trying to talk to him, but at the same time he doesn’t want her to tell anyone what has happened. I would step in except for the matter of him attempting “it” again. He has stated that he would (attempt to harm himself again) if my teenager were to tell. Where do I go from here? My teenager can’t handle all of this and I am worried about her well being.

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Answer:

Someone like this suicidal boy would likely benefit under the temporary care of a mental health professional. The reasons for the suicidal crisis cry out to be uncovered and addressed. Support needs to be offered. Questions need answering: Is he being abused or bullied? Is he depressed? Support and treatment are likely available, but the process cannot happen if secrecy is maintained. It is wonderful that your daughter is willing to support this troubled young man, but she needs to recognize that her ability to support someone who is suicidal is necessarily limited. She simply cannot stop this boy from harming himself if he chooses to do so. Nor is it fair to her (or safe for him) that she should be held hostage by the weight of his secret. The responsible thing for her (and anyone in this sort of circumstance) to do is to strongly and repeatedly encourage the suicidal person to seek help, and to call for that help if and when that person appears to be ready to harm themselves again. Given the circumstances, perhaps she can strongly encourage this boy to talk to someone responsible who can help; either through the school or through the local hospital or community mental health system. She might also tell this boy that while she wants to help, she has to take any threats he makes seriously, and that means that she will have to enlist the aide of authorities if she comes to believe that he is in eminent danger of harming himself again. It is a myth that talking about suicide and suicide prevention will encourage suicide to occur. By stating what she will do in advance your daughter may take some of the pressure off of her shoulders. It would be perfectly appropriate for her to enlist the help of the police or an emergency room if he becomes acutely suicidal again. Finally, your daughter should be encouraged to talk about what she is going through – with you or with her own counselor – so that she can better come to terms with the situation.

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Comments
  • baily

    i'm not exactly sure what to say. i don't think i would ever kill myself- i'm catholic. but i wish some one would kill me. my mom's gone and me dad doesn't really want me. i'll live with my grandmother and her boyfriend, who would give me anything i ask for. but i always feel like there' a catch to it. he's always "checking me out" and telling me stuff that seems inappopriate. i'm not sure if his intensions are harmless are not. but without a legal gurdian i can't go to school or the doctors. and school starts in less then a week. i have no idea what to doand i think i might be pushing away the only person that i really care about. all he does is try to help even though he can't really do anything to help me. i just want to die and go to heaven. so no i guess i'm not sucidial, because if i killed myself i wouldn't go to heaven.

  • Anonymous-1

    I 've tried mental help for my depression. I'm even on anti-depressents and i feel even worse than i did before. Counseling does not help me. i have lost the will to live and now i'm thinking about doing it. whenever i talk about my depression and how i get picked on in school and how almost nobody cares what happens to me, i feel even worse afterwards. some people can be saved, but others like me will not. If someone wants to die, just let them. Death isn't a bad thing, it's a relief from pain and suffering.

    Editor's Note: Please see Dr. Dombeck's response to this comment, published here as a separate question.

  • jonathan stiles

    i just want to say i know your feeling bad.but it will get better if you try,never give up.there is a movie i just watched,and im not going to lie i cried lol.but its called to save a life,i want you to watch it and get back with me.it made me feel realy good and i think it will make you to.im jonathan by the way and im here for you anytime.so watch the movie lol.

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