Teen Suicide Ideation

Does your teenager have dark thoughts? Suicide is when a teen causes his or her own death on purpose. Before trying to take their own life, a teen may have thoughts of wanting to die.


This is called suicidal ideation. He or she may also have suicidal behavior. That’s when a teen is focused on doing things that cause his or her own death.


PexelsSadBoy2As of 2022 suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24. Nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide and 9% have made an attempt to take their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


  • Boys are 4 times more likely to die from suicide than girls.
  • Girls are more likely to try to commit suicide than boys.
  • Guns are used in more than half of all youth suicides.


What causes a teen to consider suicide?


The teen years are a stressful time. They are filled with major changes. These include body changes, changes in thoughts, and changes in feelings. Strong feelings of stress, confusion, fear, and doubt may affect a teen’s problem-solving and decision-making. He or she may also feel a pressure to succeed.

For some teens, normal developmental changes can be very unsettling when combined with other events, such as:


  • Changes in their families, such as divorce, siblings moving out, or moving to a new town (new school)
  • Changes in friendships
  • School problems (possible bullying or academic stress)
  • Death or grief of a loved one (friend of family member)
  • Being a victim of cyberbullying or online humiliation
  • Being uncertain of their sexual orientation


These problems may seem too hard or embarrassing to overcome. For some, suicide may seem like a solution.

Some suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:


-Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”

Withdrawing from family, friends and other social contacts – wanting to be left alone

-Family history of suicide

-Impulsive behavior, moody, angry, sad

Teen depression has doubled since 2020. Mental health is a major factor in suicidal thoughts.

-Increasing use of drugs, drinking or other substances (self-medicating)

-Changing their normal routine (eating or sleeping patterns)

-Feeling trapped about a situation, hopeless. (Possibly an incident online or bullying in school).

-Preoccupied with death or dying — sometimes violence

-Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior – such as driving while doing drugs.

-Giving away belongings or things that meant a lot to them.

 Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret. 

If your teenager that is struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideation has been engaged in therapy, as well as outpatient treatment and you’re not seeing results, you may want to consider residential treatment. Learn more about how therapeutic boarding schools can help when home therapy fails.

 If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Also read:

5 Benefits to Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens.

3 Ways to Help My Teen Stop Suicidal Thoughts.

Goals of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.


If you suspect your teen is having dark thoughts and have you exhausted your local resources, contact us for a free consultation. 


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