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Gatekeepers to Youth Suicide Prevention

Warning Signs

What to Do

boy resting his forehead against a chalkboard

Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself, "I wish I was dead," "I wish I hadn't been born" and self-mutilation

Death of a family member, friend, or previous attempt

A fixation with death or violence, may express this fixation through poetry, essays, doodling, or other artwork.

Withdrawing from activities, avoiding family and friends. Giving away personal possessions or saying good-bye. Signs of depression.

Acting differently, changes in eating and sleeping, doing risky things that cause injury to self or others, and abusing drugs or alcohol, sex, drastic mood changes for no apparent reason, uncontrolled anger, low self-esteem, guilt, or feeling hopeless.

Unhealthy peer relationships, when circle of friends dramatically changes for no apparent reason, those who don’t have friends, or who begin associating with others known for substance abuse or other risk behaviors. Bullying, break up with boy/girlfriend, a disagreement with friend, teen pregnancy, or students may reject former friends who “don’t understand [them] anymore.” Students struggling with gender identity. Indications that the student is in an unhealthy, destructive, or abusive relationship.

A sudden deteriorating academic performance, typically good students, who are now neglecting assignments, cutting classes, or missing school.

Don't leave the student alone.

Explain, "I care about you and I will get someone who will understand and help."

Get help, talk to your supervisor, teacher, administrator, or school mental health professional and find out what steps your particular school takes in crisis situations.

Do not make promises to keep this a secret.

Do not criticize the student for feeling suicidal. Reassure them that you will do everything possible to keep them safe.

Keep your voice and facial expressions calm.

Do not control the conversation, let the student talk. Do not interrupt, yell, threaten, or criticize.

Focus on offering support. Do not become angry because of the student's anger and despair.

Focus on the present and future, not the past.

teenage boy with his head down on a school desk

Developed by:
Danielle Cannon
Betty Ashbaker
Melissa Allen Heath
Brigham Young University

National Resources

Utah Community Resources / Recursos a la Comunidad

  • Heber Valley Counseling (435-654-1618) - provides substance abuse treatment and general counseling at a sliding-scale rate; se proporciona tratamiento para abuso de drogas y consejo general (cargas de inscripción según sus ingresos)
  • LDS Family Services (801-422-7620) - provides counseling and counsels families, spouses, children and individuals; se aconsejan familias, esposos, niños, individuos y en casos de adopción
  • Valley Mental Health (801-949-4864) - provides individual therapy/counseling, family therapy, suicide prevention counseling, group therapy, medication evaluation and management, and crisis intervention (lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)); ofrece terapia individual / asesoramiento, terapia familiar, consejería para la prevención del suicidio, terapia de grupo, evaluación de medicamentos y la gestión y la intervención en crisis: 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Wasatch Mental Health (801-373-4760) - provides intake, group and individual therapy for mental illnesses and offers referrals to other mental illness facilities; se proporciona intervención en situaciones de crisis y servicios de asesoramiento a clientes con Medicaid

Developed by:
Jenni Whicker, Ed.S.
Brigham Young University