Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center discusses suicide awareness

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:19 AM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - September is suicide awareness month.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States for children ages ten to fourteen, and the third leading cause of death for teens ages fifteen to nineteen.

There are many potential warning signs of suicidality that parents should keep an eye out for.

Things like becoming more introverted or changes in academic performance, eating, or sleeping. Other factors and warning signs that could signal a child might be contemplating suicide might not be so obvious to parents or caregivers.

“Some children, if they’re thinking about suicide, may also start to give away belongings,” said Dr. Natalie Scanlon, a clinical psychologist. “The two big ones that we know about are if kiddos start to talk about feeling hopeless about their future or a sense of being a burden to other people. Those are red flags that go up in our minds as professionals that somebody might be contemplating suicide.”

The best thing a parent can do if they notice these warning signs is to ask and initiate a conversation. Because addressing the first signs as early as possible and providing the highest standard of care are key.