Resources for youth with suicidal thoughts
Families Friday, October 12, 2012 12:25 PM

VICTORIA - The Ministry of Children and Family Development would like to remind young people and their families that if they are feeling alone, sad, or having thoughts of suicide, help is available.

Here are a few numbers youth and families can contact themselves or on behalf of someone else to get immediate help:

  • 1 800 SUICIDE (1 800 784-2433)
  • Youth in BC: 1 866 661-3311 (toll-Free). Youth in BC is an online crisis service, where you can chat 1-on-1 with a trained volunteer 24 hours a day.
  • Aboriginal People Crisis Line: 1 800 588-8717
  • Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1 877 209-1266
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A free 24 hour hotline in Canada or the U.S. 1 800 273-8255
  • Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668-6868. The Kids Help Line is a national organization offering bilingual, 24-hour toll-free confidential phone counselling, referral and Internet services for children and youth or their parents in English and French.

Most children and youth having thoughts of suicide show signs of their distress, although some do not. Some of the changes families and others may see in children and youth who may be at risk for suicide include:

  • Talking about suicide or a plan for suicide.
  • Saying things like, "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish I were dead," "I shouldn't have been born," "I won't be a problem for you much longer," "Nothing matters," or "It's no use."
  • Making statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness.
  • Complaining of being a bad person or feeling "rotten inside," refusing help or feeling beyond help. Not tolerating praise or rewards.
  • Giving away favourite possessions or making a will.
  • Being preoccupied with death.
  • Showing a loss of interest in pleasurable activities or things they once cared about. Always feeling bored.
  • Feeling trapped, increasingly anxious, agitated or angry.
  • Showing marked personality changes and serious mood changes.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Expressing plans to seek revenge.
  • Sleeping all of the time or unable to sleep.
  • Having trouble concentrating or difficulties with school work.
  • Complaining frequently about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomach aches, headaches or fatigue. Changes in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Showing impulsive behaviours, such as violent actions, rebellious behaviour or running away.
  • Increasing or excessive substance use.
  • Becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression (may mean the youth has already made the decision to escape their problems through suicide).

The ministry has several initiatives around the province that aim to reduce the risk of youth suicide, for example, the FRIENDS for Life program:

This is a school-based prevention program designed to increase resiliency and reduce anxiety for B.C. students.

The ministry has compiled best practice information for practitioners related to youth suicide prevention, intervention and steps following suicide. This information is posted on the ministry website:


Shae Greenfield
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 356-1639

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