Media Awareness

What Parents Can Do When Kids Have Suicidal Thoughts

New research is uncovering warning signs that might indicate whether a child is more likely to act on those thoughts

A vector illustration of a mother figure consoling a distraught child
The Wall Street Journal - logo
Originally Published: February 22, 2022

Suicidal thoughts are increasingly common among teens, and cause for alarm among parents.

Most kids don’t act on those thoughts, scientists say, but researchers are learning to better understand which youngsters are most at risk—and what parents can do to keep them safe.

New research links certain behaviors to an imminent risk of a child’s suicide attempt, including a dramatic increase in the time spent at home and a sharp rise in the use of negative words in texts and social-media posts.

These findings are important as families, schools and therapists contend with a yearslong rise in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among teens and young adults, a trend that has grown during the pandemic.

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