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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Reducing Suicide Risk With Safety Plans

A weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

September 6, 2022

When kids in distress express suicidal thoughts or feelings, therapists often work with them —and their parents — to create what is called a safety plan. A safety plan is a document that spells out a series of things the child agrees to do, if they feel overwhelmed, to keep from harming themselves. Parents agree to things they will do to make their child’s environment safer.

September is Suicide Awareness Month, and we’re offering a new piece explaining how safety planning can help deter teen suicides, which are often impulsive, by steering kids away from harming themselves until the urge passes. We’re also rounding up information about signs a child might be suicidal and steps to take if you’re worried that a child might be having suicidal thoughts. With teenage depression and anxiety on the rise, it’s important for all of us to be proactive when children are in distress.

Related Resources

What Is a Safety Plan?

An agreement aimed at keeping kids at risk for suicide from harming themselves.


Signs a Child Might Be Suicidal

What to watch out for and how to help.


What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers?

Signs your child might be more than moody.


What to Do if You're Worried About Suicide

Do talk to your child about it. Don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way.


DBT: What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

A treatment for teenagers with serious trouble managing emotions, including suicidal feelings.


Taking a Child to the Emergency Room

What the ER can (and can't) do for your child in a psychiatric emergency.