Thoughts of harming oneself generally stem from overwhelming pain. Suicide prevention is something that anyone can do, and it starts with listening and recognizing the signs of suicidal talk. People who attempt to take their lives don’t want to die – they just want to stop hurting (Harvard Health Publications).
Most people feel inadequate to prevent self-violence in another person. We worry that starting the conversation will make things worse. We wonder if saying the wrong thing will put the idea into their head or trigger the act. Although this hesitation is understandable, bringing up the topic of suicide is both difficult and the right approach.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (https://www.iasp.info/resources), evidence suggests these fears are myths. Being caring and listening in a non-judgmental way is more likely to reduce distress than increase it.
Parents may not realize how much this topic is on the minds of their teenagers. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, adolescents ranked violence prevention as No. 6 in a list of topics they would like to discuss. Their parents placed violence prevention as number 10. Again, talking about violence, including self-violence, will not bring up a topic your teen hasn’t thought about.