36 Children, Teens and Suicide Loss Is my teen at risk of becoming suicidal? It is important to remember that the vast majority of teens who experience very stressful life events do not become suicidal. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not the natural consequence of serious life stressors. Teens who go through extremely difficult and painful experiences may feel intense sadness, loss, anxiety, anger, or a sense of abandonment. They may have the occasional thought that they would be better off dead. But this doesn’t mean they are actively suicidal. For most teens, such events do not trigger persistent ruminations about death or a genuine desire to end their life. If they do, however, having your teen speak with a mental health professional is a reasonable next step. What can I do if my teen is thinking or talking about suicide? It is not uncommon for teens to express verbally or in writing that they want to be with the person who died, or that they want to kill themselves. A teen’s risk for suicide depends on many factors, including the full context of the teen’s life, the degree to which the teen’s usual behavior and personality have changed, and known risk factors. You can find more information about known risk factors at afsp.org/signs. Any talk about suicide should be taken seriously and pursued further, including through an evaluation by a mental health professional, if needed. Other changes in the teen’s behavior that last beyond a month, seem to come out of nowhere, and are drastic, severe, and/or harmful (e.g., substance use) should be of major concern and cause for conversation and mental health intervention. Here are some possible ways to start the conversation. I know it’s been really tough lately. I’ve seen you withdraw from your friends, and I am wondering if you are finding the support you need. I want to ask a question because I care about you and I noticed that you seem to be really missing your mom lately. You also seem to be really