May 10 2011

How To Know if Your Teen Is Suicidal with Dr.Paul Meier

Teen suicides are sadly are on the rise, up over 300%!  Dr. Paul Meier of the Meier of the Meier Clinc shares how to help teens.


Paul Meier, M.D. 888-7 CLINIC Page 1 HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD OR TEEN MAY BE SUICIDAL AND WHAT TO ASK THEM Because of the culture we live in, suicide in children and teens is at an all time high—300% higher than it was 50 years ago. According to a national poll of over 90,000 American teens, one out of every 23 female teens and about one out of every 33 male teens will attempt suicide in the next twelve months. More males will die, however, because they use more violent means. Most suicides are not planned ahead of time, especially in children and teens; they are impulsive decisions during a relationship break-up or some other crisis, and most suicides are decided on within fifteen minutes of the actual death. Most adults who have a crisis have enough experience to know they will survive and get past it. Kids who get depressed feel like it will never go away and they will spend the rest of their lives in horrible pain. When we have the flu, we may feel like ―dying‖ that day because of all the muscle aches, nausea and the depressing chemicals we may be taking, but we feel fine a day or two later. Depressed people feel sadness and pain every day until they recover. Most depressed people, regardless of age, will recover with good therapy, but if suicidal thoughts are involved, I recommend an antidepressant and professional help as well. If the child has thought of possible methods of suicide, intensive professional help should be obtained. If suicide is seriously being considered, then hospitalization is necessary to protect the child until he or she recovers. Almost everyone recovers from depression if they get the right kind of professional help, which may include medication.


1. Realize that even if you are ―perfect‖ parents, your children are shaped by their genes, their environment, and their own choices, so even awesome parents sometimes lose a child to suicide.

2. Live a godly and loving life with them, showing them unconditional love.

3. Encourage them to share their feelings – happy feelings, sad feelings, lonely feelings, angry feelings, whatever – from early childhood on, even if they are angry at you. Nearly all of us were more in touch with our feelings when we were two or three years old than we are now because we have too often been taught to suppress our feelings.

4. Depression is either genetic or it is caused by anger turned inward, so kids who share their anger and learn to resolve it seldom act out on it. Kids who stuff their anger often become depressed, rebellious, self-destructive, abuse drugs, participate in other dangerous activities, and are more likely to commit suicide.

5. Kids who get straight A’s and are totally compliant are more likely to kill themselves than kids who have a little healthy rebellion and express their emotions more freely.

6. Teens who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or smoke pot regularly are seven times more likely to kill themselves than teens who do not indulge. Plus excessive alcohol and pot cause permanent brain damage, as seen clearly on Spec Scans.

7. Don’t ever be afraid to ask your children if they ever feel like they wish they could die. Just talking about it makes them feel better or makes it less likely they will feel that way. If they do say they have death wishes, ask them if they have had thoughts come into their heads about different ways to do it. When they share a method they have thought about, they are much less likely to actually carry it out. Bringing things out in the open has a very beneficial effect. but be sure to follow through with getting professional help if they feel significant depression or continued death wishes. My book, Blue Genes (Tyndale, Publisher), provides information about genetic, spiritual and emotional causes of depression and how to prevent or cure it. This article also appears on our clinic website at

If you missed this important conversation we had with Dr. Meier this week, you can listen now by clicking here.

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Comments (6) -

5/10/2011 5:35:41 PM
Paul United States
As a crisis counselor handling civilian and military suicide attempts and completions, please add 'isolation' to your list of watch-outs.  Since most will give signs prior to attempting, isolation is a key factor.
5/11/2011 9:52:19 AM
Christy United States
I heard your news story about chocolate milk in schools.  I just think it's silly!  This Friday, at my kids' elementary school, they could have donuts, a chocolate toffee bar, and extra ice cream (to raise money for the PTO) all before 11:30 a.m.!!!  I think chocolate milk should be the least of their worries!
5/11/2011 9:53:45 AM
Stephanie United States
As a former teen who contiplated suicide and has dealt with major depressive disorder since the age of 13, the most important and effective way family and friends can help is of course to pray but to also be pro-active. My mom was the one person who never let up...and still doesn't! No matter how many times I pushed her away or was just plain mean to her, she never gave up on me. There were times I just hated her for butting in "my life" but looking back, I now know that her butting in was what saved my life. Never give up on someone who struggles with depression and/or thoughts of suicide. Even when they hate you for getting involved in their problems, your actions may be what saves their life.
5/11/2011 2:11:47 PM
lea ann United States
lea ann
Thank you for posting this. I work with teen girls and out of my group of 14 8th grade girls, four have discussed suicide with me.  I am taking this with me to church tonight to hand out to the other youth leaders.

The girls who are suicidal are also the ones who stuff their feelings inside and also tend to cut. But that's just in my group. I feel a bit helpless as to how to help them!  
5/11/2011 5:49:17 PM
Catherine Nissen United States
Catherine  Nissen
You guys are such a blessing ... God knows exactly what he is doing with this wonderful ministry that flows thru Klove.  I had one of those teenagers that was left by both parents and had been through more than most could even imagine.  When we got her she tried to commit suicide and almost succeeded.  She was on life support for two days before God blessed us again with that smile that could light up any room.  I play nothing but Klove and when we finally got to talk to her about what a miracle it was that she was alive she said "I guess it's true, if our God is with us, then what could stand against us".  That is still her favorite song and since then she has graduated from high school and is serving in Mexico at an orphanage before she starts college in August.  Anyone that is fostering children keep Klove playing, they hear it!  Blessings to all of you Foster Parents!  You Rock (:
5/19/2011 1:27:15 PM
grace sarsfield United States
grace sarsfield
my son almost committed suicide 2 yrs ago, he was 11 at the time. We heard the signs. "i'm stupid" "I hate myself". Once he asked for rope. In the back of my mind I knew what he wanted it for but I pushed that thought aside & thought I was crazy for thinking it. Days later he was on the computer, which is in our living room & my husband & I both happened to walk up to him to see what he was doing on line & found out he was looking up ways to end his life. We told him to get off the computer, I took him to school. I called the school counselor, we talked & by the afternoon I picked him up from school & my husband & I put him in the hospital. He got help. Last year Samuel gave his life to Christ & was baptized. He is still on meds & still sees a counselor & psychrist for his meds & things are better than 2 yrs ago. Thanks to Klove last yr for hooking Samuel up to sit on stage & see Tobymac at IgniteChicago 2009 & the help of our church friends & family. We are blessed to have our 13 yr old in our home. We talk about it with others so if we can help one family who might not even think that their child is capable of ending their life, that it gives them something to think about & it gives them the opportunity to check with their child in how they are doing in school & life.
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