Child & Teen Suicide Prevention

Talk to someone if you’re concerned about the thoughts, feelings or behaviours that you or someone close to you is having – ­ for example:

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Not interested in doing favourite activities
  • Talking about dying or not wanting to live anymore

Serious or immediate concerns: Talk to a doctor, mental health centre, hospital emergency department or one of these crisis lines:

Map of services: Use this map to find mental health services and intake clinics for children and teens.

More help and support: You don’t have to handle this alone­ – check out these helpful resources:

Information for Parents & Caregivers

Warning signs: Know the signs that your child or teen might be thinking about suicide:

Risk factors: Know the risk factors that may increase the chances of suicidal behaviour or suicide. Some risk factors include:

  • Mental health disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders and disruptive disorders
  • Previous suicidal behaviour or prior suicide attempts
  • Feeling hopeless, showing signs of aggression or being reckless or impulsive
  • Family factors, like parent-child conflict, parental mental illness and a family history of suicidal behaviour
  • A history of childhood abuse
  • Stressful life events that commonly include: interpersonal conflict, rejection, failure, humiliation and loss
  • Exposure to peer suicide
  • Sensationalized media reports about suicide
  • Having access to the means for suicide

Protective factors: Parents should also know the factors that help protect kids against social problems and the likelihood of suicide – this includes "reasons for living” like:

  • Strong coping and problem solving-skills
  • Experience with success and feelings of effectiveness
  • Strong sense of belonging and connection
  • Interpersonal competence
  • Warm, supportive family relationships
  • Support and acceptance at school and from peers
  • Success at school
  • Strong cultural identity
  • Community self-determination

Access help and information for parents:

Information for Professionals

Child and youth mental health practitioners, healthcare providers, Aboriginal mental health practitioners and leaders, school personnel and other youth-­serving practitioners have an important role to play in the prevention of suicide by youth.

Practical Tools

Access helpful tools and practical guidelines designed to help recognize, assess and respond to suicide risk factors.

Teen Suicide Statistics

Across Canada: Since 1980, rates of suicide among Canadian youth have started to plateau, with a slight incline over the last decade.

Rates of suicide among Canadian teens (15 to 19 years old)

Year Rate Per 100,000 Year Rate Per 100,000
1950 3.3 2004 9.9
1960 3.3 2005 9.9
1970 7.0 2006 7.0
1980 11.4 2007 8.3
1990 11.6 2008 9.2
2000 10.9 2009 9.0
2001 9.9 2010 8.9
2002 10.1 2011 9.0
2003 10.2 2012 Data not yet available
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 102­0551

In B.C.: After motor vehicle fatalities, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens aged 15 to 24.:

  • 94 suicides between 2006 and 2010
  • 29 suicides in 2010

Each year, there are typically three to four male youth suicides for every female youth suicide.

Suicide rate among teens (15 to 19 years old) in B.C.

Figure 1

Note: See Preventing Youth Suicide: A Guide for Practitioners (PDF, 1.1 MB) for more detailed data.