Parenting young adults: 9 vital answers about depression and suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 24. Do you know the warning signs and how to help?

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  • Editor's note: The following information was originally published by Yellowbrick. It has been republished here with permission.

  • Young adults and late teens may be closed-off and unwilling to talk with their parents or other influential adults, making it difficult to determine if they are going through depression, having suicidal thoughts or just going through a brief period of "the blues." Young adult and teen suicide is the third leading cause of death for those between ages 10 and 24, and mental health wellness advocates are working to provide suicide and depression treatment for young adults. But what resources are available for parents?

  • As a parent, you may feel helpless if you suspect that your young adult is suffering from depression or considering suicide. However, there are some parenting strategies that you can employ to support your young adult during this difficult time. You may look for warning signs, such as secrecy, isolation, depression or expressions of despair. Substance abuse and addiction and certain mental illnesses can also increase a young adult's risk of suicide. If a suicide attempt takes place, the young adult may experience more intense emotions of shame, guilt and isolation; building connections with others and participating in meaningful activities may help young adults avoid repeated attempts. In this difficult situation, parents should show acceptance, a lack of judgment, empathy, and build safe, trustworthy and open communication with their child.

  • Knowledge is power, and you can learn how to help young adults by knowing what warning signs to look for, the potential health impact of a suicide attempt and how you can seek help and offer support. Remember, if you suspect that someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Reach out immediately and you'll find support during a difficult time.

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