Responding to Youth in Crisis

If you are concerned that a teen may be engaging in self-harming behaviour and/or having suicidal thoughts, it is critical that you act on those concerns immediately. Regardless of whether you are a parent, another safe adult, or close friend, reinforce that you are there to listen, support and help. People who receive support from caring family members and friends and who have access to professional support are less likely to act upon suicidal thoughts than those who are more socially isolated.

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

  • Changes in sleep

    Your child develops sleep problems such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night or sleeping all the time and avoiding interactions.

  • Loss of interest and withdrawal

    Your child seems more withdrawn, sad, anxious, defensive, angry or secretive. S/he has lost interest in activities normally enjoyed.

  • Reckless behaviour

    Your child acts in ways that are dangerous or damaging and s/he doesn’t seem to care about what happens as a result of the behaviour.

  • Personality change

    Your child doesn’t seem to be the same person anymore.

  • Neglect of personal appearance

    Your child seriously neglects her/his personal appearance and hygiene.

  • Substance abuse

    Your child is drinking alcohol or using other drugs and it looks different than adolescent experimentation.

  • Physical pain

    Your child frequently complains of physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomach aches or headaches.

  • Giving away belongings

    Your child is giving away favourite possessions or throwing away important belongings.

  • Drastic change in online messaging

    See our helping a friend section for more information.