Teen suicide is on the rise during quarantine. Are you worried your teen may be in danger of self harm?

With teen suicide rates on the rise during quarantine, are you worried that your teenager may
be in danger of self -harm? Well, let's talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent
Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids,
teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the group Private Practice
Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both
here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer
your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's question. It's a heavy one. Hey, Kent. Something
I've been hearing more about lately is the rise of teen suicide since COVID hit. Our daughter
certainly has been hit with some quarantine -related depression. She hasn't tried anything,
and we haven't really suspected she would. Nevertheless, I keep hearing stories about parents
who didn't even see it coming, and it's freaking me out. I'm

wondering if you can tell me what to look out for. Is there any way I can tell if my daughter is vulnerable
to suicide? Thank you for your question. Again, this is a heavy question, and it freaks every
parent out. The things you wanna look forward to, look for, are things like, is she feeling depressed?
Is she kind of isolating? Is she finding that she's not associating with her friends? She's
letting her schoolwork fall. Is she experiencing anhedonia, which is a really fancy way to
say can't have fun with anything anymore? The things she used to enjoy, she just can't enjoy
them anymore. Is her sleep schedule all off? Is she avoiding food? There's a lot of those little
symptoms that can add up. Any of those one symptoms does not mean that your child is suicidal.
You can also look at self -harm. Is she cutting, burning, scratching? Again, that is not necessarily
suicidal attempts, but it could lead to an attempt of suicide if left unchecked. And if these
are the situations going on, I encourage

you to talk to your daughter, give her the support and emotional support you need, let her know
that you're here for her, and you're gonna get her help, whether it's a therapist, or whether
that's her rabbi, or her minister, or someone who is trained to work with kids and teens, and
trained to give counseling, I think is really important. Sometimes having that third outside
point of view, outside of the family, may be beneficial. But also, I encourage you just to ask
your kid. Say, hey, I just wanted to check in with you. I'm really, I'm concerned. Seems like
you're really upset. Are you at all ever worried about harming yourself? Do you think about
killing yourself? And right now you're thinking, I can't ask my kid that. Yes, you can. In fact,
you should, because number one, you're not gonna plant the seed of, not like they were depressed
and say, hey, I wasn't thinking about suicide, but now that dad told me, asked me about it, that
sounds like a great idea. That's not how it works. Generally,

it's the opposite. Generally, if you let your kid know, hey, I'm concerned about this, and this
is a worry of mine, if they're not worried about it, they'll say, no, no, no, that's not me. Or
they may tear up and start crying, and say, yeah, sometimes. And if that's the case, do not get
angry. Go towards love. Give her a hug, or give him a hug. Say, it's okay, I'm here for you. I understand
how tough it is right now. I'm gonna help you through this. We're gonna get you help. No, no, I
don't wanna talk to someone. Don't worry, it's gonna be fine. Again, if you can just get her in
to see a therapist, whether it's on a Zoom session because of quarantine, or in the office. Right
now, half of our clients are in the office, half are online, depending on everyone's comfort
level. If you can usually get her here, we can usually help, or another therapist who works with
teens. But it's really important that you get her the help, and don't ignore it. Another thing
is, let's say you think your kid

is doing fine. She's keeping up with her school, she's socializing. But you hear about those
kids who have a suicide, and it's like, it came out of nowhere. Talk to them, too. Say, hey, I've
been hearing, you know, I'm reading stories, I've been hearing this thing on Facebook about
teen suicide on the rise. I just wanna check in, I just wanna, you know, peace of mind. Are you
ever thinking about that? And then they say, no, what are you talking about? That's nuts. What
are you talking about, mom or dad? And that's fine. That probably means they're not thinking
about it, and you're not gonna plant the seed that they will. But if they don't say that, maybe
they do think about it. It's really common for people to think about suicide acting on it as something
else, obviously. And we wanna make sure that the acting out on it doesn't happen. So again, get
help. Also, other things in the house. Make sure medication's locked up in a safe. If you have
rope in the garage, get rid of it. If you have

firearms, get rid of them, or at least make sure they're locked up in a safe. And there's no way
possible your kid can have that combination. In fact, if you haven't changed the combination
in a while, change it again. Because there are many instances where kids find the combination
because it's grandma's birthday or something like that, and they use it. So really make sure
you keep those things locked up. Kitchen knives, you can't get rid of kitchen knives. You gotta
cook. But if you're worried about your kid, you're worried they're in that place of possibly
self -harm, make sure they're never home alone. If you're gonna go to the store, take them with
you. Leaving them home alone for long periods of time is not the best solution. But more importantly,
don't get angry. I know it may scare you, but instead of going from a place of anger, go from a place
of love and compassion, because anger's not gonna make them stop feeling suicidal, but love
can. And that's the most important thing, is

if they're feeling loved and connected to you, they're less likely to make an attempt. But get
them help if they need it. Thanks again for your question. We love your questions. If you have
a question you'd like me to answer next week on Tips on Teens, email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com, or you can direct messages right here on Facebook or Instagram. Thanks again. I'm Kent
Toussaint from Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, and we'll see you next Wednesday
at noon. Bye -bye.

Recent reports suggest that teen suicide is definitely on the rise during quarantine. Meanwhile, many teens are struggling to cope with isolation from their friends and the disappointment of missing out on milestones. Do you know the danger signs or how to bring up the topic with your teen? Are you worried that your teen may be in danger of self harm? It’s a heavy topic, and it’s on the mind of some parents right now. Kent discusses what to watch out for, and how to talk about it with your kids on this week’s Tips On Teens.

“Hi Kent. Something I’ve been hearing more about lately is the rise of teen suicides since COVID. Our daughter certainly has been hit with some quarantine related depression. She hasn’t tried anything and we haven’t really suspected she would. Nevertheless, I keep hearing stories about parents who didn’t even see it coming, and it’s freaking me out. I’m wondering if you can tell me what to look out for. Is there any way I can tell if my daughter is vulnerable to suicide?”

Having quarantine burnout? Here’s more about getting through quarantine and distance learning with you teen. 

Every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live Teen Therapy Center Clinical Director Kent Toussaint hosts Tips On Teens. Kent answers your parenting questions! Submit them to us at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.