Child Psychiatry

3 Ways Parents Can Support Their Teen with Suicidal Ideation

Parents are often the first line of defense when it comes to spotting suicidal ideation in their teen. In this video, I’m going to teach you the “QPR technique” that parents and family members can use in their time of need.


So here are 3 ways to confidently assist your teenager if they are experiencing suicidal ideation:

1. Question

This can be somewhat awkward, but it is important to clear around the subject of suicidal thoughts.

As awkward as it may be, YOU  might be the person best suited to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and be the best suited to prevent the suicide as well. 

Some questions that you can ask are: 

  1. Sometimes people feel that life is not worth living. Can you tell me how you feel about your own life?
  2. Do you find yourself wishing for a permanent escape from life?
  3. Have you ever thought of harming yourself or trying to take your own life?


Try not to worry about how the question sounds as the most important thing that you can do is ask the question in the first place. If the results of these questions are affirmative, it is time to move on to the ‘persuade’ step.

2. Persuade


Persuading someone away from suicidal ideation and convincing them to seek help starts with an easy and straightforward act:  listening. 

Advice can be problematic for a number of reasons. And while listening can be a courageous act requiring time and patience, it is always the correct course of action.  

To be the best listener in this situation you must give your undivided attention without interrupting and only speaking when the other person has finished. 

After listening to your family member you should try to persuade them to get help by either scheduling an appointment with a therapist OR going to the emergency room.

3. Refer

You have already shown that you take seriously the personal responsibility of the care of your loved one seriously. 

If you able, please call a professional counselor or therapist and have them assess. If that’s not an option and you fear that your loved will hurt themselves, please call 911 or drive your loved one to the emergency room.

Here at La Plata Family Therapy, we are here to help guide you through this extremely difficult time. Please reach out to us today.

– Matt Aspros, Adolescent Therapist


135 Burnett Drive, Unit 4, Durango, CO 81301

[email protected]

P: (970) 769-0131 F: (970) 769-0131