Guiding Parents Concerned About Youth Suicide

Being a parent is not easy, especially when things don’t seem quite right with your child. How do you know if it’s just a moody phase or something that should cause concern? Four Corners Health Department wants to help parents to know warning signs and what to do.

Let’s start by looking at the FACTS:

  • Feelings: Expressing strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness should be noted.
  • Actions: Displaying severe or overwhelming pain or distress needs to be addressed right away.
  • Changes: Showing worrisome behaviors such as withdrawal from friends, changes in social activities, or different sleeping patterns are common warning signs.
  • Threats: Talking about, writing about, or making plans for suicide must be taken seriously.
  • Situations: Experiencing stressful situations including those that involve loss, change, create personal humiliation, or involve getting into trouble, tend to be triggers.

These are things to consider especially if you see them in your child regularly. But what should you do if you start to notice these things? Try these 5 steps!

  1. Ask: Be direct. Ask if they’re thinking about killing themselves. Studies show asking them the question does not increase thoughts of suicide.
  2. Keep Them Safe: Reduce access to guns and other lethal means. Remove or lock all firearms, limit alcohol, check your medicine cabinet, and monitor your house for other dangerous items.
  3. Be There: Listen carefully with empathy to the youth. They want to feel heard.
  4. Help Them Connect: Save the lifeline number in your phone (1-800-273-8255) and the text line (741741) in case you need them. Help youth make connections with other trusted adults, such as people at church or school.
  5. Stay Connected: Youth might not always show it but they want to know that you’re there for them. Make sure that they know that and remind them that you care.

Learn more here:

There is a new mental health app for youth created by the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition. It’s called My Companion (MC) and can be downloaded on the App Store or on Google Play. It’s a helpful and positive resource for youth to help prevent suicide. The app includes a way to log daily reflections, input emergency contacts, access resources, and more.

Plan to attend the Seward County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Walk for Hope at Plum Creek Park in Seward. The walk will be Saturday, April 2nd from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The cost is $5 for students or $10 for community members, which includes a t-shirt.

Suicide can be prevented. Many people show warning signs when they are thinking about hurting themselves. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to your local emergency room.

For questions or to learn more about how to be involved in suicide prevention in our District, call Four Corners at 402-362-2621 or 877-337-3573 or email at