On World Suicide Prevention Day, PLEO: Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario launched a new resource to support parents of youth who are thinking about suicide by sharing helpful and hopeful messages from parents and youth with lived experience, suicide prevention experts and clinicians. 

The resource includes tip sheets for parents and videos with inforamtion about:

  • Accessing services
  • Signs and awareness
  • Safety at home
  • Communication

Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Mara Grunau was interviewed for the video series. In Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Signs and Awareness, Grunau says, “We need to take all threats of suicide seriously… these are red flags. You may need to probe a bit, ‘Sometimes, when people say things like that, they’re thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?’ Ask the question directly.”

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Crisis Action gives parents tips for how to navigate a suicide crisis with their young person. “How do you prepare for crisis? Understand that it is likely to happen and when everyone is calm talk about how to respond. Write it down. Actually develop a safety plan so that when you’re in the heat of the moment you don’t have to think; you just have to open your safety plan and say ‘Okay, these are the things we said we would do,'” said Grunau. “(A suicide crisis) is a time limited event. It doesn’t feel like that when you’re in it… one bit of advice for parents is to somehow ground themselves and remember, this is going to pass.”

Parents are also given tips on how to communicate with a young person who is thinking about suicide in Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth: Communication. Grunau advises, “When things are calm is a good time to talk (to a young person) about how can we talk in crisis. You can establish some (communication) guidelines when you’re calm, agree to them together and document them. That can help take us through difficult times.”