Question: What is the risk of suicide in depressed young people and how do I talk to my child or adolescent about suicidal thoughts?
Answer: As parents it's very important that we talk to our children about potential dangers. We certainly have learned this to a considerable extent about drug abuse and we have to also do this about risk for suicide. Because children and adolescents are so impressionable, they often times get into situations in peer groups in which they're made to feel transiently very badly about themselves. For that reason, they are in fact at risk for suicide. And also they're at risk for suicide because they really don't understand what depression is and when one is depressed one is hopeless and helpless and can't imagine ever feeling better.
So it's important that we open up a dialogue with our children to explain to them that sometimes one feels very badly and that when one does, there is help because depression can be treated in the same way that physical disorders like diabetes or encephalitis can be treated.