How to tell your parents you want to die

If you comment here, I will answer. I used to have this article on another site with hundreds of comments but for some technical reason, my replies are not posting. I can post an answer here because I want to hear your story.

You have had thoughts of killing yourself and you are not sure why. You feel so worthless and want to end it. The pain just won’t stop.

So I am asking you to ask for help to save yourself.

Telling can help relieve some of the pain

You need to say something because suicide could be the last thing on a parent’s mind. They might not think of asking you. This is not because they don’t care, but because it’s the last thing they think you would do. They don’t know how bad it hurts or how close you’ve been. You may have even attempted suicide before, and they have no clue. You may have left clues that feel like flashing neon signs and they still don’t get it.

You are afraid to tell. It’s hard to know what to say.

If you do tell your parent, will they think you are joking?

Will they freak out?

Will they say you are trying to get attention?

And if you do say something, what exactly do you say?

I’m going to be honest. They may say something stupid like, “You have so much to live for!” or something else that feels frustrating like, “You’re just trying to get attention.” How would anyone get help unless they asked for attention?

This is why you need to be direct like what I say in the gray box below. If they don’t have the right reaction, then tell someone else.

So I’m going to tell you what has worked for the young people who have reached out to me for help on how to tell their parents (another relative or teacher) that they have had thoughts of killing themselves.

1. Make the decision to tell someone

I’m asking you, a mom who has lost the most precious thing in the world. I wish so much he’d have told me.

I realized later my son wanted to tell me he was thinking of killing himself in that last phone call. I will always regret that I missed those invitations to ask.

The world is not a better place without Charles. I crave his skinny hugs, that squeaky voice he used when he greeted his dog.

Asking for help is not a weakness but a strength. It takes courage and I know it’s scary. If your family and friends knew, they’d want to help. They would be thankful you asked. Please allow them that opportunity.

2. Decide the best person to tell

It might not be a parent. It might be an aunt or a grandmother or a teacher, school counselor, or a friend. If it’s a friend, you can go together to tell someone.

If you don’t tell a person you know, text the crisis hotline or call the suicide hotline. 741-741 in the USA. Sometimes talking to them can help you get the nerve to tell your parent or help you figure out what to say.

3. How do you tell someone?

Be direct. Don’t use phrases like, “I want to hurt myself.”

For example, you could say something like this: 

“I have something very important to tell you. This is not a joke and I need you to take me seriously. Can you listen? I have been thinking of killing myself and I need help. I don’t understand these feelings and they scare me. I need a suicide assessment. I need your help, your love, and support.”

4. If you do not want to sit down face to face, write your mom or dad a message

It might make you feel anxious to face them directly. It can be good for them to have an opportunity to think and figure out what to do. A letter you hand to them or a message you send to them can be an effective means of communicating. Many of the people who have reached out to me preferred sending a message and talking face to face after their mom or dad gets the message. Some have preferred to tell a teacher and have that person tell a parent.

But if you are at risk right now, call one of the hotlines below. Do not wait.

Do know that if you do a text you might feel anxious and wonder, “Have they read it yet?” or “Why haven’t they answered yet?” So keep that in mind.

No way is easy. But then no way of killing yourself is either.

Many parents tell me that once their child told them they had thoughts of suicide, they were relieved there was a reason for their child’s behavior because suicide never occurred to them. Many times parents can’t figure out why their son or daughter was getting in trouble with police, driving recklessly, or getting angry all the time. They are usually stunned but also thankful and grateful.

You are the center of someone’s world and you cannot worry about disappointing them. Once they realize how much you hurt, the last thing they’ll care about is the grade on your last science test.

If you leave us, you take with you the gifts that we have not even realized you have. You take the gift that is you and only you. The truth is, we all want you to ask for help there is help available. 

USA 1-800-273-8255
USA Crisis Text 741-741
USA Crisis Line for LGBTQ Youth 1-866-488-7386
USA Crisis Text for LGBTQ Youth 678-678
USA TransLifeline 1-833-456-4566
USA Suicide Prevention Lifeline & Chat for the Deaf or Hearing impaired. Or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom Samaritans 116 123
Australia Crisis Line 13 11 14
Canada Crisis Line 1-833-456-4566
Canada TransLifeline 877-330-6366
International suicide hotlines

 

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “How to tell your parents you want to die”

  1. Right on point, Anne Moss. I want to reiterate that asking for help is a show of strength not one of weakness. It takes guts to reach out to someone!

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