35 Children, Teens and Suicide Loss differently and will need to learn to balance the demands of school, home, and friends for themselves. Be supportive and flexible as they try to find that balance, and provide a listening ear and advice when asked. Suicidal Thinking and Suicide Risk A grieving teen often looks and sounds like any other teen in many ways. It can be difficult to sort out which behaviors may be related to grieving and which have to do with the many challenges of adolescence. Regardless,any of your teen’s actions that are concerning, and that may compromise their safety, should be taken seriously. Further evaluation by a mental health professional can help address your concerns. Should I be concerned about drug or alcohol use or other risky behaviors? Teens usually resort to drugs or alcohol to numb or avoid feelings. Teens may also engage in other risky behaviors (e.g., driving recklessly, cutting themselves, or having unprotected sex) as a way of coping with intense emotions related to their loss. Encourage your teen to find healthier ways to deal with their grief, such as talking with friends, attending a support group, getting help from a counselor, exercising, getting out in nature, or pursuing a hobby (e.g., painting or playing an instrument). Does talking about suicide encourage teens to think about suicide? The topic of suicide is already present in many teens’ lives through depictions in movies, video games, books, news, and social media. Talking about suicide does not put the idea of ending one’s life in a teen’s mind. However, it is wise to avoid exposure to graphic images and messages about suicide in the media and movies, particularly in the period immediately following a loss.