Youth Protective Factors
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call:
Notice: The Office of Suicide Prevention website is informational and not intended as a crisis response or hotline. Local crisis hotline numbers can be found in the front of your local phone book or call 911.
Protective factors against youth suicide are less well studied. Some known protective factors are:
- The presence of an important person in the youth's life: As long as there is an emotionally significant person in the youth's life to whom the youth can relate, this will decrease the likelihood of suicide. Many youths are ambivalent about suicide and they turn to others for help and support. The emotionally important person may be a parent, a teacher, a close friend or a youth worker. The person has become the life line to the teenager. The presence of a good supportive network is particularly important to those youths who have little or no family support.
- Good coping skills: The more resourceful and skilled in problem solving, the more likely is the youth's ability to cope with stressful situations. Coping skills are generally related to the personality of the individual rather than the intelligence of the person. A person who is coping well may see a stressful situation as a challenge and an opportunity for change rather than as an occasion for despair.
- A supportive and caring family: A warm, caring and understanding family is a good source of support for a young person in distress. Firm guidance, good communication, family stability and an ability to "grow" with the child are important ingredients for a well functioning family.
- Interests and activities: Young people who are involved in group activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides, church groups and team sports can use these activities to channel their energy and frustration in a socially acceptable manner. They learn to relate to others in a semi-structured and fun filled environment under the guidance of responsible and caring adults. Their self esteem can be raised by their successes.