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Suicide Warning Signs, and Where to Find Help

January 18, 2019

Teens facing bullying, depression, body shaming and suicidal thoughts can’t go it alone. That’s where adults can help, panelists at Boston Herald/Lowell Sun bullying roundtable advised.

Experts on the panel recommended parents look for warning signs, which could signal that a child is depressed or even thinking of suicide, including:

n Not getting joy from regular activities

n Wearing baggy or ill-fitting clothes

n Giving away prized possessions

n Sleeping more than usual

n Eating more or less than usual

n Lethargic behavior

n Failing grades

n Refusal to attend school

n Few or no friends

n Isolation

n Quitting extracurricular activities like sports or clubs

The panelists also detailed a set of advice for parents who notice red flags in their child’s behavior, including:

n Encourage them to see a counselor or therapist

n Engage in conversation about how they are feeling

n Regularly check their social media accounts

n Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide

n Restrict cellphone use if cyberbullying is taking place

n Don’t tell them “you’ll get over it”

n Don’t think it’s “just a phase”

n Look for “dark stories” from their English class or troubling art from art classes

n Monitor for substance abuse

Parents and children are encouraged to consult hotlines:

n National Suicide Prevention hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

n Crisis text line Text CONNECT to 741741

n GLBT National Youth Talkline 1-800-246-PRIDE (1-800-246-7743)

-- ALEXI COHAN

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