Ch. 6 - March 15, 2024 6:04 am

A bookmark for children with the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline emergency telephone number is displayed by Lance Neiberger, a volunteer with the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force, while they speak about mental health and suicide...Show more Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The National Institute of Mental Health says suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Family and Children Services says if a child talks about ending their life, loses interest in things they used to enjoy, or no longer has close relationships, those could all be warning signs.

Family and Children Services say warning signs could also include a child who isolates themselves from others or has significant mood changes or behavioral changes.

“Sometimes, especially teens may get irritable easily frustrated, really anxious, so even outside of the box moods that you wouldn’t except any mood change is something to stop and think about,” said Emily Farmer, the Senior Program Director with COPES, a mobile crisis service for adults and children.

She says the next step is to make time to talk with them.

“You’re going to ask them how they’re doing check in, maybe let them know what you’ve noticed, you know, I’ve noticed you’ve been more irritable lately, or you got really frustrated when this thing happened, is everything ok?” said Farmer.

If your child says they’re struggling, parents can call COPES at 918-744-4800, and a mental health professional will help parents come up with a safety plan.

“Think about where your medications are stored and how they are stored; think about how your firearms are stored and where they are kept,” Farmer said. “Think about, would you know if your child tried to access them? Do they, for a short period of time, need to be stored somewhere safer?”

The COPES line is 24/7, and they also help send parents to other mental health services, like in-patient hospitals.

“A lot of people who have thoughts of suicide or are in crisis, it’s a short-term thing, that if they get the help when they need, if they get the counseling, the support that they need in that tough time, a lot of times it does improve and a lot of times it doesn’t necessarily happen again,” Farmer said.

If a young person notices their friend is going through a hard time, it’s important to tell an adult immediately. Anyone who is struggling can also call the 24/7 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Resources are available at many locations. Family and Children Services can be reached at 918-744-4800, and Parkside Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic can be reached at 918-588-8888.


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