Teen Depression and Suicide: Understanding and Addressing Suicidal Thoughts

It may feel like a taboo subject to talk about, but thoughts of suicide are something that affects millions of Americans every year. Teenagers face challenges that can cause pain, distress, and fear, like school pressure, family issues, online or in-person bullying, and mental illness. Teen depression and suicide are serious concerns; it is important to understand where these feelings and thoughts come from and how to get treatment.

If you have been thinking about suicide, making end-of-life plans, or noticing signs of depression, please tell a loved one or immediately contact a teen help hotline. They will help you figure out the next step. Often, these issues result from mental illness and can be treated with the help of doctors and other health practitioners. There is hope for people dealing with teen depression and suicide, and the first step is to reach out to a mental health professional or somebody you trust.

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.

How Can I Help Myself Now?

If you have been thinking or talking about suicide or have a suicide plan, the time to get help is now. Suicidal thoughts can include feeling like you are in crisis, with emotional pain, or you may feel off, trapped, or like a burden to others. You might feel high levels of anxiety or depression, or you might feel hopeless or purposeless.

If any of this sounds familiar, the first step is to ensure you are safe, away from anything lethal. The second step is to tell somebody you trust. This may be a teacher, a close friend, a parent, a helpline, or a doctor. If you do not have somebody you can trust, you can also visit the emergency department at the hospital, and they will ensure you are cared for.

A teenage mental health crisis should never be ignored. Your well-being is the top priority and should always be put first. You are important, and your mental health matters. Popular helplines include the Crisis Text Line (text “Brave” to 741-741), the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (dial 988), or you can call 911 for emergency assistance in a life-threatening situation.

How Can I Get Emotional Support From Friends and Family?

Your friends and your family love you. Sometimes, as a teenager, you might find that loved ones may dismiss emotional problems, but if you open up truthfully to the people you trust about how you have been feeling, they will be there for you and get you the help you need. Even if they do not fully know how to help a teenager with mental health issues or understand what you are going through, they will do their best to help.

Emotional support for teenagers can be a powerful tool in the face of mental illness, and your friends and family can become a vital support system for you in your time of need. If you are worried that your parents will not be supportive, reach out to a teacher, part of your extended family, or even a close neighbor. They will help you find your mental health resources, like doctors, psychologists, or therapists.

Where Can I Get Peer Support?

A lot has changed since your parents were kids; sometimes they just don’t get it. Peer-to-peer support is available to all teens, allowing you to talk to somebody your own age about any thoughts, fears, or emotions you are experiencing.

A top option for people in California is BeWellLine, a free emotional support warmline and online chat offering advice and a listening ear from Support Specialists who are ready to help residents deal with difficult emotions and develop healthy coping methods.

Another resource is Teen Line, which allows you to call, email, or even text somebody your own age. Some other resources include Youth Line and the JED Foundation. They offer strong support, no matter who you are or what you are going through, 24 hours a day. Sharing with other teens can feel relief because they understand what it is like to be a teenager today.

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.

How Can I Get Professional Support?

Finding professional support may require the help of a parent or doctor, especially if you plan on using insurance to pay for treatment. Some free, easily accessible resources are available to you now. If you look up “teenage support services near me,” a list of resources in your area that can help you will populate. You can also call a teen helpline to talk to somebody who understands what you are going through and who will be able to guide you in finding counseling, treatment, and doctor support.

Even though it might feel like it right now, you are certainly not alone. There are entire communities of people near you dealing with similar thoughts, many of whom are teenagers. By speaking to people your age on a teen line, you will get insight into what types of treatment are available and find ways to cope, heal, and hope for the future.

teenage mental health crisis

Longer-Term Support for Your Mental Health in California

In California, inpatient and outpatient treatment centers can help those dealing with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts. You can stay inside a full residential treatment center for a few weeks to take a break, reset, and get intensive treatment, or you can continue to live your life normally while speaking to a therapist a few times a week.

There are also school-based programs, group CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) sessions, and after-school treatment programs. No matter your need, the state of California has a treatment that will work for you. The first step is to get a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional, who can then guide you into what treatment and support you might need.

Longer-Term Support for Your Mental Health in Irvine

Far beyond crisis intervention, teenage support services like community programs, clinics, and online therapy can provide long-term support, ensuring you have somewhere to turn for help or support during “down” days or stressful times in your life. Connecting with community members and mental health professionals will help you stay healthy when life feels overwhelming.

Residential Support for Your Mental Health in San Diego

San Diego is home to incredible inpatient treatment centers for teens, with therapeutic programs that are immersive, offering strong support, care, and effective, evidence-based treatment to teens with mental health issues. These programs are designed to keep teens safe while helping them gain a new outlook on life, along with helpful coping mechanisms, new ways of thinking, and new connections between their minds and bodies.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Deal With Suicidal Thoughts as a Teenager

Are suicidal thoughts common among teenagers?

Yes, teen depression and suicide might be more common than you think. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults.

How can parents identify signs of a mental health crisis in their teens?

Signs of a mental health crisis include talking about feeling hopeless, guilty, empty, trapped, being a burden to others, or wanting to die. They may start to give away possessions, take serious life-threatening risks, use drugs and alcohol more often, act anxious or agitated, or have extreme mood swings. Talk to your teen often, and do not hesitate to bring them to a professional if signs of mental health issues arise.

What resources are available for teenagers struggling with their mental health?

Some of the best resources for teenagers struggling with mental health are BeWellLine, the National Institute of Mental Health, Teen Line, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you or a loved one is distressed or want information on what to do during a mental health crisis, do not hesitate to call or contact any of these services at any time, day or night.

Are there specific tests to diagnose teenage mental health issues?

No single teenage mental illness test can tell a person if they have a mental illness, and nobody should try to self-diagnose. If you suspect that you or a loved one has mental health issues, it is best to see a doctor or mental health professional for a proper diagnosis.

How do school environments impact teenage mental health?

One of the most poignant teenage mental health facts is that school is the biggest cause of stress for most teens. The school environment can greatly affect a teen’s mental health, from homework to parental pressure, social dynamics, bullying, and worrying about the future.

Can peers play a role in identifying and supporting a teen’s emotional problems?

Yes, most teens talk to their friends about suicidal thoughts and emotional issues before their family or other trusted adults. A supportive friend can make all the difference in some people’s lives.

How can one differentiate between typical teenage behavior and signs of deeper mental health issues?

To parents, teenagers can sometimes be somewhat unpredictable, and they may wonder, “How does mental health affect teens’ behavior?” Suppose your teen starts to do poorly at school (or skip classes), gets in trouble with the law, abuses substances, changes in eating or sleeping, isolates themselves from friends and activities, shows violent behaviors, or has persistent sadness or anxiety. There may be more at play than typical teen issues in that case. Talk to your teen often, check in, and listen to what they say. If you are concerned about teen depression and suicide, it may be time to speak to a mental health professional.

How Can We Help?

Providing a Compassionate and Safe Environment for Healing.