Discussing Suicide with Your Parent

The blog post includes a discussion about suicide. Please read with caution if any of these items triggers or upsets you.

Talking about suicide with your parent(s) can feel tricky and intimidating- what if they get upset? What if they don’t believe you? These are all normal concerns to have but overcoming these apprehensions could be a game-changer when you are struggling.

Findings show that talking about suicide does not encourage someone to attempt suicide. In fact, it may be a great first step in preventing it. Opening the door to open, honest conversation can remove any shame and fear you may be feeling and gives you the opportunity to get the best support possible. This may be new territory for your parent and they may feel nervous, too.

Set the stage

Find a space and time where you feel comfortable talking openly and make sure it will be at a time when your parent can give you their full attention.

Be direct

While it may seem easier to tiptoe around your feelings or couch your answers to make others feel comfortable, it might make it harder for your parent to get a full picture of your experience.

Explain what you need

It can be so hard for parents to avoid jumping in with a “fix” but it is important that they really listen to what you are saying (check out our article about venting for some tips). Preparing ahead of time and practicing what to say could be a great way to make sure you are conveying the information that is important to you.

Get (the right) help

Talk about seeking help and share what kind of provider/clinician you would be comfortable seeing, and if you have reached out or done research to find one already.

If you feel that you are in immediate danger and emergency measures need to be taken, call 911, call an emergency mental health line (resolve Crisis Services can be reached 24/7 at 1-888-796-8226), or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Have you ever had a conversation with your parent(s) about heavier topics such as suicide? If so, how did it go, and what would you have done differently? If not, but you’ve wanted to, what prevented you from doing so?

Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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