Youth Suicide Prevention

In Washington State, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24. Recognizing warning signs and staying informed on intervention and treatment methods can help prevent suicide.

Warning Signs

  • A previous suicide attempt.
  • Current talk about suicide, or making a suicide plan.
  • Strong wish to die, preoccupation with death, giving away prized possessions.
  • Serious depression, moodiness, expressions of hopelessness.
  • Withdraws from friends and/or social activities.
  • Increased alcohol and/or other drug use.
  • Changed eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Severe drop in school performance.
  • Takes unnecessary risks.
  • Recent suicide attempt by a friend or family member.

Intervention Tips

  • Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed youth to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.
  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.