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16-Year-Old Son Having Suicidal Thoughts


My 16-year-old son is in an emotionally precarious state. He is having difficulty in school, is dealing with the suicide of his friend and has recently prevented a girl from choking herself while on a church trip. Now he is thinking about suicide himself. I have taken him to counselors and pastors, but I don’t feel he is being helped. He wants to date the girl he kept from committing suicide, but I am forbidding it due to their emotional states and tendencies toward suicide.


This information is included in our Guide to Self Harm. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

When a teenager loses a friend to suicide, he often has thoughts of suicide himself. Being available to him and allowing him to express his feelings will help him a great deal. Children do not realize the impact of losing someone until it happens to someone close to them. As adults, we want to protect them from this sadness.

Find a counselor to whom your son can relate. Boys Town has a database of counseling agencies, along with grief counseling and support groups. If you’d like a referral, give us a call at 1-800-448-3000. Counselors are available 24/7.

About your son’s wish to date the girl he prevented from committing suicide: You are correct in thinking that their fragile emotional states are not good for one another. He may be drawn to this girl because he can identify with her emotional turmoil. Since he recently experienced loss due to suicide, he knows how her death would affect family and friends. He wants to “rescue” her and keep her safe.

How about telling him he can date her AFTER he gets some counseling and reaches a point when you feel he is stable enough and is no longer experiencing suicidal thoughts? He will be getting the help he needs while having something to look forward to. He might lose interest in her in the interim.

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