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Teenage son suicide attempt

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Teenage son suicide attempt

My 16 yr old son recently attempted to take an overdose, thankfully it was unsuccessful but it has left our world spinning. He started to become withdrawn over the week before and what I first thought was him being a 'scrappy teenager soon became apparent it was more than that. He started to sleep through most of the day, stopped going to college and rarely left his room. After 6 days of trying to find out what was on his mind, I sat with him and pushed a little harder. He told me that he had taken over 40 pills and didn't want to be here anymore. We immediately took him to hospital where it was confirmed that he had no lasting damage, but he was not sorry that he'd done it and was angry that it hasn't worked. After a couple of days in hospital he was released and although he seems more open to listening to us, he is still unable to go back to college and struggles to get out of bed much before 3pm. He is reluctant to talk to a counsellor as he doesn't like to talk about his feelings. We are floundering as to how to help him get through and make an effective change to try and get himself back on track. Has anyone had experience of this and have any suggestions as to how we can help him?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. X

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Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

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Hi there @jajealch, what a painful and difficult time this must be for your family Smiley Sad 

Thank you for coming on and sharing this here. 

It seems quite common among teens (especially boys) that age to not want to talk about their feelings or access a counselor. 

Is there anything else that he enjoys doing that could help his mood  - sport or exercise is a good one? Or spending time with friends? 

We also have some content here on suicide and teens that might be helpful - let us know. 


I'm wondering too what support you're getting for yourself in all of this? Important for you to keep up your own emotional well being while you support your son. It might be helpful for you to get some counselling of your own ? Heart


There are no easy answers , and everyone's experience is going to be different, but I'm going to tag a few of the other parents on here who may have some support or insight to share. 

@Happy @Schooner @sunflowermom @taokat @CoogeeMagic2018 @Moggy3kids


Prolific scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Hi @jajealch,


It was a huge shock to me when my son was admitted to hospital with depression and suicidal ideation. I will always feel guilty for not seeing it - no matter what anybody tells me. 


We were lucky, my son had suicidal ideation but didn't want to die. I didn't know that was a thing, but there you go. His attempts, as they were, were a call for help. I learned to listen to that.


Therapy, medication, and time seemed to work for us. Lots and lots of support from lots of people. I saw it as my job to get the right people to help him. It doesn't matter how good or experienced a therapist is, there has to be a relationship between them and their patients. We went through a few before I found one that I thought fitted my son. Psychiatrists too, our first one was a dud as far as my son was concerned. The school too was hopeless - changing to the right school helped enormously.


It is not just boys who don't like to talk about their's us adult males too. Finding the right person was the key for us. 


It's a tough job, look after yourself.



Active scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt


Thank you so much for your reply and sharing your experience with me.  I understand what you mean about finding the right person for him - my biggest hurdle at the moment is trying to get him to agree to a) talk to anyone in a professional capacity and b) get him out of the house.  He recently had an orthodontist appointment which we had to cancel as I can not even convince him to get up and out of the house.  I know that we are in the early stages at the moment and I trust that time will help, but I really feel like we are stuck in a loop at the moment and I am floundering as to how to break the cycle.  If he is not prepared or mentally ready to start helping himself, there seems to be only so much that we can do. However, I am concerned that the longer this goes on in this manner, we will be stuck in this cycle.

It's all very confusing.  

Thank you for taking time for me, I really appreciate it.


Super contributor

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Hi @jajealch, it really is difficult for young people to begin to access support. It is so unfortunate but often it is so challenging to open up or even admit that there are some issues that need addressing. Do you have any local helplines or online services that your son might be open to accessing prior to face-to-face support? Often it can be a stepping stone and less daunting.

I also really echo what @gina-Ro has said - do you access any support for yourself? This could guide you and ensure that you have the appropriate support when helping your son. It is also important to look after yourself as these challenges can become awfully heavy quite quickly. You are not alone in this.
Frequent scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Hi @jajealch,
I’m sorry to hear your family are going through such a difficult time.
You’ve been given some great advice on the forum.
Research shows most boys that self harm feel they don’t belong, may it be at school, friendship groups etc or a breakup with their girl friend or disagreement with friends.

What I find works with teenagers especially with boys are mentors. They need to be older than them someone that’s gone through those tough years that can share their experience and offer advice.
This could be a close family friend, relative or even a teacher.

Is their someone that he used to look up too? If so this person could help by listening and offering advice.

As teenagers love food, have you tried suggesting going for a burger or whatever he fancies to get him out of his room? He may feel like chatting, he may not but getting him out of his room into some fresh air will do him a world of good.
My teenager are I do most of our talking over a meal
I wish you all the best
Please take care of yourself 🌼

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

I'm so your family is going through this. It's scary and confusing as a parent. I understand what you mean when you say "stuck in a loop". It will take time and patients. Keep gently reminding him you are there when he is ready to talk, it took my daughter several months until we could really get to the root. I love the Mentor idea from Happy.
Hugs, please remember you are not alone in this tough time. We r here for you.
Active scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Hi @Taylor-RO,


Thank you for taking the time to read my post and respond.  

There are a few online services that we have been offered, but to date, he is just as reluctant to use them as he is to talk to someone face to face. 


Currently we don't have any official support for us, one of the reasons I sought out a forum like this.  We are 'in the system' with a Mental Health service, but their wheels turn very slowly and they are yet to send their report to our doctor over a week after his attempt.


Although I was unable to get him out of bed before 4 pm today, he did open up a little more to me today and was able to attempt to describe a little of how he is feeling.  He has agreed to visit the doctor on Monday with me and from what he has told me today, I am hopeful that we may be making baby steps towards helping him understand how he can deal with and overcome some of these feelings.


Having said that, just when I think we are making progress, it seems to be one step forward and three steps backwards.


Thank you so much for you kind words, they mean so much to me at this time and it is comforting to know that we are not alone in this.


Active scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Thank you @gina-Ro for tagging the other parents that you did, the responses that I have received so far have been a comfort and a help.  So glad I found this forum. x

Active scribe

Re: Teenage son suicide attempt

Thank you @Happy for your reply.  


You seem to echo some of the thoughts that I have had regarding him feeling like he doesn't fit in.  He has always seemed to try so hard and although his friendship group has always seemed to be a lovely group of lads, he seems to have had this need to prove something either to them or himself.

Having recently moved into college, I have wondered if this has been the catalyst to the way he is feeling, as his friendship group has started moving in different directions and all of a sudden he is thrown into a new environment with a lot of people he doesn't know.  I wonder if he feels that he is a little lost.  I have asked him about it but he doesn't seem to think it is a problem, but I'm not so sure.


I love the idea of a mentor and will certainly give it some thought.  I think sometimes Mum and Dad just don't cut it! 

He is certainly a lover of his food and has joined us recently on a few occasions, but the conversation has been very light hearted as I think my husband and I are worried about 'scaring him off'.  I don't want him to think that every time he comes out of his room, we are going to be asking questions or wanting him to tell us his inner most thoughts.


Although that would certainly not be the case, his perception can be different.  There's a huge gap between what we say and what they hear, so I do feel like I'm walking on egg shells a little.


Thank you again for your time. x