• More than 300 young people aged 15 to 24 take their own lives each year in France, according to Inserm.

    On the occasion of National Suicide Prevention Day this Sunday,

    20 Minutes

    sought to find out what signals should worry parents.

  • Isolation, irritability, a drop in school results or drug use should alert.

  • These signals must lead to the second step: listening.

    "Asking the question of suicidal thoughts never leads to action and does not cause more dark thoughts", recalls Yann Massart, general delegate of the suicide prevention association Say I'm here.

More than 300 young people aged 15 to 24 commit suicide each year in France, according to Inserm.

A figure to note on the occasion of National Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place this Sunday.

For parents, it is not always easy to detect the deep suffering that their child is feeling.

Because having a teenager is sometimes to be refused when asked to come to the table, to hear oneself answer "nothing" when asked what he did with his day, and to see him remain locked up for hours in his room.

So, when should you worry about the behavior of your son or daughter?

“Most adolescents are doing well, notes Charles-Edouard Notredame, child and adolescent psychiatrist and lecturer at the University of Lille.

Adolescence is a period that is certainly complex but not necessarily complicated.

» If you notice that your adolescent is not well, you must therefore be concerned about it and not minimize his ill-being.

Even more so if he belongs to populations particularly at risk, such as young LGBT people, whose suicide attempts are more frequent than in the general population.

The Lucas affair has again sadly illustrated this recently.

Young people who have already attempted suicide, used drugs or suffered from a mental illness also have a greater risk of ending their lives.

Isolation, irritability, change in appetite

Beyond the profile, certain behavioral signals should alert.

Seeing friends less regularly - or even not at all -, becoming irritable and impulsive, having a drop in grades, skipping class, no longer doing activities, sleeping or eating more or less than usual, or even consuming drugs are so many behaviors which, added together, should raise suspicion.

"In general, parents know their child and perceive when he is not doing well," said Charles-Edouard Notredame.

If they spot a change in his attitude, they need to trust themselves as a parent.


The environment in which the child is located must also be taken into account.

Even as a teenager, a breakup can be extremely painful and lead to deep psychological distress.

The separation of parents can also be an element precipitating suicide (even if we remember, this act is always multifactorial).

We must therefore be attentive and not minimize the complicated moments of life in adolescents.

"If we add a painful moment of life and a change in behavior, we must be worried", insists Yann Massart, general delegate of the suicide prevention association Say I'm here.

Ask openly the question of suicidal ideation

These signals must lead to the second step: listening.

If you feel ready and able, you can directly ask your child if he has suicidal thoughts.

"Asking the question never leads to action and does not cause more dark thoughts," recalls Yann Massart.

This will even defuse

the potential suicidal crisis,

which is often very fleeting.

If your child answers you in the positive, do not hesitate to talk about the origin of the suffering and to consult a professional.

But if he does not open up or if it is too difficult for you to ask him the question directly, you can suggest that he write on the Fil Santé Jeunes chat, call 3114 (national number Souffrance et Prévention Suicide) or meet with a healthcare professional.

School nurse, attending physician or psychologist from a Maison des adolescents: it is up to him to choose the interlocutor with whom he will be most comfortable.

"In a context with a less important affective stake, it is possible that the teenager starts to speak", notes Charles-Edouard Notredame.

Other people around him, such as an uncle, a godmother, a friend of the parents, a brother or a sister, with whom he feels more comfortable, can also take over.

Moving forward hand in hand

If the child remains mute, searching his phone or his computer to see if he is well is on the other hand to be avoided, according to Charles-Edouard Notredame and Yann Massart.

“Doing things with him is always more relevant, assures the general delegate of Say I'm here.

And if we do it with kindness, the child will be relieved.


Because once we have spoken directly about the problem, the teenager can, if necessary, follow psychotherapy or take medication.

The earlier the person with suicidal ideation is taken care of, the lower the risk of having it again later.

Hence the slogan of Say I'm here: "Talking about it can change everything".


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If you are between 12 and 25 years old and need a listening ear, you can call Fil Santé Jeunes on 0800 235 236 (free listening 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight) or speak on the Fil Santé Jeunes chat (from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.).

If you feel suicidal thoughts or are close to someone who does, you can call the national Suffering and Suicide Prevention number at 31 14 (free and confidential listening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

If you are a victim or close to a victim of school bullying, you can call 3020 (free call from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday).

  • Health

  • Mental Health

  • Suicide

  • attempted suicide

  • Depression

  • School harassment

  • Bullying