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Teen suicide: Warning signs, resources and help for concerned parents

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From the Canadian Mental Health Association:

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, contact:

* In case of Emergency call 911

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* Kids Help Phone, online or 1-800-668-6868

* RCMP 1-800-442-9722

* The Canadian Mental Health Association

* Mental Health Outreach Services

* Department of Health and Wellness

* Teachers or guidance counselors

* Family physicians

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Warning signs of a suicidal person:

The person is:

* Depressed

* Increasingly isolated

* Giving away prized possessions

* Doing poorly in school or at work

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* Making statements about wanting to die

* Acting in an aggressive manner

* Taking unnecessary risks

* Threatening to commit suicide

* Suddenly happy for no reason after long depression

* Abusing drugs and/or alcohol

More than one sign could mean that help is necessary. Note how long the signs have been present – how deeply the person feels about the things going wrong in his or her life, and how many signs are present at one time.

What you can do to help a depressed or suicidal person:

* Listen to the person with concern

* Ask the person if he or she has ever felt unhappy for a long time and assure him or her that things can and will change.

* Be especially concerned if the person uses drug and/or alcohol because his or her judgment may be impaired.

* Ask if the person has suicidal thoughts.

* Stay with the person. Do something together.

* If the person is suicidal and refuses to get help, tell a responsible adult or someone you trust as soon as possible.

* Make specific plans to see the person the next day so he or she has a reason to hang on for one more day.

For more tips and advice during the crisis, read the first aid guidelines from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Remember: You cannot take responsibility for another person's life – the decision is his or her own – you may, however, be able to help the person see other ways of dealing with his or her problems and pain.

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