Youth Suicide Prevention

Youth suicide rates in the United States are alarmingly high. The encouraging news is that there are many, very effective suicide prevention programs now being implemented that bring hope, optimism, and recovery to people struggling with thoughts of suicide and their families.

The Second Wind Fund (SWF) helps children and youth at-risk of suicide by connecting them with experienced, licensed therapists when they have no other access to such care.  When reading statistics about youth suicide it is important to remember the simple fact that treatment works and recovery is possible.

In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

24 hour Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Warning Signs

Evidence that someone is seriously planning to commit suicide represents a clear signal that help is needed. By some estimates, four out of five people who commit suicide have tried to warn others of their intent through verbal statements, written notes, demonstrating a preoccupation with death or other behavior indicating that they are planning to end their life. Fortunately there are some common warning signs which, when acted upon, can save lives.

A Suicidal Youth May:

  • Talk about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live
  • Be preoccupied with death and dying
  • Withdraw from friends and/or social activities
  • Have a recent severe loss (especially relationship) or threat of a significant loss
  • Experience drastic changes in behavior
  • Lose interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Prepare for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
  • Give away prized possessions
  • Have attempted suicide before
  • Take unnecessary risks; be reckless and/or impulsive
  • Lose interest in their personal appearance
  • Increase their use of alcohol or drugs
  • Express a sense of hopelessness
  • Be faced with a situation of humiliation or failure
  • Be faced with a disciplinary crisis
  • Have a history of violence or hostility
  • Have been unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers

Be Aware of Feelings, Thoughts and Behaviors

Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about suicide. Most everyone decides to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. Frequently, they:

  • Can't stop the pain
  • Can't think clearly
  • Can’t make decisions
  • Can’t see any way out
  • Can’t sleep, eat or work
  • Can’t get out of the depression
  • Can’t make the sadness go away
  • Can’t see the possibility of change
  • Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
  • Can’t get someone’s attention
  • Can’t seem to get control

In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

24 Hour Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)


The information on this page has been adapted from the following sources:

  • American Association of Suicidology website: “Youth Suicide Fact Sheet”
  • American Association of Suicidology website: “Some Facts About Suicide in the U.S.A.”
  • American Association of Suicidology website: “Understanding and Helping the Individual”
  • State of Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention. Recent data provided by the Office of Suicide Prevention via correspondence.
  • The Colorado Trust, “Suicide in Colorado.”
  • State of Colorado Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan, The Report of the Governor’s Suicide Prevention Advisory Commission. November 1998.