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Teen Suicide Prevention

If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a difficult time,  YOU can be the difference in getting them the help they need. It is important to continue taking care of yourself while you remain a support to others, and after the crisis passes. If you need to talk about your feelings, Foundation 2 is here for both you and your friend.

Signs/Symptoms:

These warning signs are from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  You can learn more from the Lifeline here.
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings
How to Help a Friend:

Please Do:
  • Remove or arrange to remove firearms or unnecessary medicines from the home. Firearms should be taken elsewhere, even when locked and unloaded.
  • Trust your suspicions, take the threat seriously and express your concern. Let them know what they mean to you and that they are not alone. 
  • Be honest. If you are worried about a friend, say so. Trust your suspicions and gently ask direct questions about whether the youth is depressed or thinking about suicide. You won't "give them the idea" of suicide just by asking honest questions. The more detailed the plan, especially with available and lethal means, the greater the immediate risk.
  • Try to determine whether the person has a suicide plan. The more detailed the plan, especially with available and lethal means, the greater the risk.
  • Help the youth recall how he or she coped in other crises. This is more effective than pat reassurances.  
  • Encourage the person to seek help and talk to someone who is trained to help with emotional problems. Call a suicide prevention center like Foundation 2 Crisis Center or talk to a physician, teacher, counselor, school nurse, clergy or trained mental health professional.
  • Arrange and get a promise with the person to stay in contact. Offer yourself until other assistance has been obtained.
  • Be a listener, not a "fixer."  
  • Help the person explore and express feelings.  
  • Gently ask direct questions about the person's intentions.
  • Communicate your concern for their well-being.
  • Show your support verbally and non-verbally.
  • Talk to the person and really LISTEN. 
What NOT to Do:
  • Do not minimize or ignore statements about wanting to die.
  • Do not be judgmental, debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or increase guilt.
  • Do not swear secrecy to the suicidal person.
  • Do not tell the person to "go ahead and do it."
  • Do not say "everything will be all right" or use cliches like "pull yourself together."
  • Do not tell them about someone who has it worse.
  • Do not delay dealing with the situation. Don't leave the person alone if you feel the risk of suicide is immediate. Call a crisis hotline.
Talking with a friend or loved one who has thoughts of ending their life can be frightening.  It can be hard to know how to help, but Foundation 2 is here for you.  If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned about a friend who shows signs that they may be suicidal, Foundation 2 is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We can coach you on ways to talk to a friend and will be a resource for your friend when they are ready to connect with help.

How to Get Help:

Below is a list of resources for those with thoughts of suicide:

  • Foundation 2 Crisis Line- Call us anytime at 1-800-332-4224 or (319) 362-2174.  Our crisis line is available anywhere in the state of Iowa.
  • Foundation 2 Chat and Text- Foundation 2 Crisis Text is available by texting to 800-332-4224 and following the prompts.  Crisis chat is available here.  Chat and text are currently available Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 3 PM.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- A call to 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will connect you with the nearest crisis center anywhere in the United States.  This service is available 24/7.
  • Lifeline Crisis Chat- Connect with online crisis support anytime day or night here.
  • Your Life Iowa- Young people across Iowa can connect with YourLifeIowa through phone, online chat, or texting. Connect with help by calling 1-855-581-8111, texting 1-855-895-TEXT (8398).
  • The Trevor Project- A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.  Reach help anytime by calling 1-866-488-7386.
  • Trans Lifeline- This hotline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people experiencing a crisis.  Connect with help by calling 1-877-565-8860.
  • ImAlive- Online crisis chat network staffed by trained volunteers. Connect with help here.

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