Skip to main content


Suicide Prevention - Holding On To Life

When a person is in crisis, family members may have many questions. This toolkit is designed to provide some answers. While no one can guarantee someone else's safety, this information may help you feel more confident and better prepared to give the care and attention your loved one needs through this challenging time.

The toolkit is designed for the family member of a person 15-24 years of age who is experiencing a difficult time in his/her life. If your loved one is a different age, you will likely still find this information helpful.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth between ages 10-19 years of age in Michigan.  Suicidal thoughts can be the result of many different situations a child is facing. Frequently, the child does not know how to handle the situation and thinks everything would be better without him or her. Young people often do not realize the impact of these thoughts, and, as a parent, you can help in these ways:

  • Keep the lines of communication open! Even if everything seems okay today, make a household agreement that if a stressful situation or change occurs, you will talk about it openly and honestly.
  • Identify outside professionals to turn to if the situation can’t be discussed productively with a parent. There are many trained specialists who can help both the parents and children through these difficult situations
  • If your child exhibits symptoms of struggle, talk to him or her. Never give up trying to get help. Until you get help, avoid leaving your child alone or unsupervised. Tell your child that you are concerned and assure him or her that you or someone else will stick with him or her through thick and thin.
  • Call 9-1-1 or take your child to the nearest ER if you have concerns that your child is suicidal.
  • Tell your child that if a friend or someone the child knows discloses suicidal thoughts or intentions, they should tell you, another adult, contact OK2SAY or call 9-1-1.

Other Ways to Help Your Child

Nearly 60% of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. Keep any guns at your home unloaded and locked in a gun safe.

Overdose via over-the-counter, prescription, and non-prescription medicine is also a very common means of suicide and attempted suicide. Monitor all medications in your home. Take prescription medicine out of the medicine cabinet and secure it in a place only you know about. If possible, keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet your child cannot access. Properly dispose of expired or unused prescription medications.

50-75% of all people who consider suicide tell someone about their intention. It is critical to acknowledge and take seriously all threats of suicide. If your child is showing signs of struggle, don’t ignore it. Get him or her professional help. You can start with school staff, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services - Community Mental Health Services Programs.

Top Suicide Risk/Warning Signs

  • Talk about suicide or death in general
  • Give hints that they might not be around anymore
  • Talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
  • Pull away from friends or family and isolate themselves
  • Write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss
  • Start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends
  • Lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
  • Have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Show risk-taking behaviors
  • Lose interest in school or sports


Free, confidential help is always available at 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433).