If someone's life is in immediate danger please call 911 immediately.

Information on this page is used for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis.  If either yourself or you suspect someone you love/know is suicidal please seek help via the resources mentioned at the bottom of this page.  

It's common for youth to go through the ups and downs of adolescence.  What's important to keep in mind is that you are looking for drastic changes in behavior and mood over a relatively short period of time.  




 A brief guide for parents, guardians, and families

Suicide is real...It's happening. We can't be in denial any longer...We need to start talking about it!" -A Parent & Suicide Survior

How do I know when a youth is at risk?

Let's take a look at some of these signs:

  • A sense of hopelessness for the future

  • Isolation or feeling alone "No one understands me"

  • Aggressiveness and irritability "Leave me alone"

  • Possessing lethal means (e.f. pills, guns)

  • A negative view of self "I am worthless"

  • Drastic changes in mood and behavior

  • Frequently talking about death "If I died would you miss me?"

  • Self-harm behaviors like cutting

  • Engaging in "risky" behaviors "I'll try anything. I'm not afraid to die"

  • Making funeral arrangments

  • Giving away things away (e.g. clothes, expensive gifts) "When I am gone, I want you to have this"

  • Substance use

  • Feeling like a burden to others "You would be better off without me"

  • Making suicide threats "Sometimes I feel like I just want to die"

Don't be afraid to ask direct questions about suicide.  Talking about suicide does  NOT cause suicide.  In fact, by asking questions, you may save a life.  

  • "Are you thinking ​about killing yourself?"

  • "Have you ever felt so down that you thought of ending your life?"

  • "Do you ever wish you were dead?"

  • "Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?"

  • "Have you been feeling like you want to escape from it all?"

NEVER promise to keep thoughts or feelings about suicide a "secret." Keeping that secret may be extremely harmful, if not fatal.  Be sure to tell the youth that you are unable to keep their secret.  Even if they seem uspet with you now, they will thank you later.  

What do I do if I'm concerned about a youth?​

Approach the youth, and let him/her know that you're concerned and want to help. 

  • "I'm really worried about you.  Can we talk?"​

  • "I've been noticing that you are (sad, distant, not yourself lately).  I'm really concerned. Can we talk about what's been bothering you?"

  • "You haven't been acting like yourself lately.  Let's talk about what's going on."

Give the youth a chance to talk

  • Try not to be judgmental​​ or critical

  • Be patient and listen

  • Try not to react by being shocked, angry, or disappointed

  • Don't give advice

  • Try not to minimize how the youth may be feeling

What if a youth needs immediate help?

If you suspect a youth is in imminent danger, get help IMMEDIATELY.  Do not wait until things "blow over" or calm down. Call 911 if there is immediate threat to someone's life.   Never leave the youth alone - wait with the youth until help arrives. 


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL)

National 24/7 crisis line

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

TTY: 1-800799-4TTY (4889)


Hawai'i State Department

of Health's Access Line

Hawai'i's 24/7 crisis line

O'ahu: 832-3100

Neighbor Islands &

Toll-Free: 1-800-753-6879


Trevor Helpline

National 24/7 hotline for LGBTQ youth

1-866-4U-TREVOR (488-7386)


Military One Source 

24/7 hotline, provided by the Department of Defense, at no cost to service members and their families





Overseas: 800-342-9647


TeenLink Hawaii

Resources for Hawaii's teens

For more information contact regarding information on this page:

Hawai'i's Caring Communities Initiative (HCCI) for Youth Suicide Prevention at: HCCI-contact@dop.hawaii.edu/hcci/.

Information for this page was adapted from the Adolescent Suicide Prevention Project -"It's time to talk about it: A Family Guide for youth suicide prevention" and the Hawai'i Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant- "Mentally healthy, physically fit: Does my teen need help?" (Document version-10/4/2012)