SUNBURY – Talking, looking for risky behavior, and listening, three behaviors parents might want to ramp up after four teen suicides in The Valley. Joining WKOK Sunrise to provide tips was Geisinger Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Nicole Quinlan.
She says parents should to look for significant changes in their teen’s personality and behavior, “Talking about suicide, mentioning thoughts about death, comments that make it sound like they’re saying goodbye or maybe won’t be around very much longer, that should be taken seriously. If a kid or a teen has made a previous attempt to hurt themselves or kill themselves in the past, they are definitely more at risk.”
Dr. Quinlan says parents should look for risky behaviors as well, such as substance abuse. She says parents should also talk to their teens after big changes occur in their lives, such as a relationship breakup, losing a friendship, or even failing a test.
Dr. Quinlan says even openly talking about the subject can help, especially if it happens to a classmate or friend, “There’s actually no truth to the worry that if you bring up suicide that you are going to then make them think about it. It’s really important that adults talk with teens and ask them, “Hey, have you ever had thoughts like this? I want you to know that you’re important to me. Suicide is not the answer.”
You can hear more from Dr. Quinlan’s WKOK Sunrise interview on the WKOK Podcast page.