Reducing the risk of suicide

There are a number of factors that may help protect children and youth, and reduce their risk of suicide as they go through the sometimes turbulent adolescent years. The teenage brain is less able to control emotions and its ability to make good judgements and control impulses is compromised. All of these things may put your child at higher risk of suicide.

Research has shown that certain factors help protect and strengthen youth during this developmental stage:

External Factors

  • Family cohesion (involvement, shared interests and emotional support)
  • Good relationships with other youth and adults
  • Academic achievement
  • Stable environment
  • Social integration and opportunities to participate in activities
  • Responsibilities for other people or pets
  • Adequate care for substance use, physical and mental disorders
  • Lack of access to means for suicidal behaviour
  • Connection to a religious community

Internal Factors

  • Sense of belonging
  • Sociability (ability to be a friend)
  • Love of learning
  • Perceived connectedness to school
  • Sense of worth and self-confidence
  • Self-motivation
  • Help-seeking and advice-seeking behaviour
  • Service (volunteering, helping out with a cause, helping out a neighbour or friend)
  • Life skills (good decision-making, assertiveness, coping skills, perseverance, etc.)

Your role as a parent is very important. You can:

  • Listen and try to strengthen your relationship with your child,
  • Communicate with your child,
  • Help your child build connections,
  • Help your child identify their internal and external strengths,
  • Help your child create a network of support,
  • Advocate for your child as needed, and
  • Ask for help.

For more information on protective factors, visit: ww3.suicideinfo.ca/ForParents/ProtectiveFactors/tabid/719/Default.aspx or www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/suicide_prevention/pdf/pys_practitioners_guide.pdf

If you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others, please reach out immediately for help. Call 9-1-1 (or your local police or authority, if you do not have 9-1-1) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you are being bullied, feeling alone or just need to talk to someone who will listen, please reach out to a trained volunteer or professional:



Resources for Parents

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Resources for Youth

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If you need help, please reach out to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher. Or, you can reach out to someone who doesn’t know you for support. There is a list of youth-oriented support lines and websites on this site just for you.

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