Parents: Be Aware of Drastic Behavior Changes

By Youth Villages on 31st Aug 2023

Last month, the CDC released a startling report that in 2022, deaths by suicides were at an all-time high, with nearly 50,000 Americans taking their own lives. This number marks a three percent increase from the previous year. Also included in the report is that 90% of Americans believe a real mental health crisis is affecting our communities.

With the increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression, mental health plays a huge factor in suicidal attempts and ideation. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Youth Villages’ Specialized Crisis Services team offers some tips on warning signs that you should be aware of as parents, teachers, caregivers, coaches, and neighbors.

Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts Warning Signs:

  • Talking about suicide, death and/or no reason to live, hopelessness
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities
  • Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss
  • Experience or fear of a situation or humiliation of failure
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Previous history of suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility
  • Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance
  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers

Youth Villages’ Specialized Crisis Services Program Director Raquel Shutze recommends helping struggling youth and young adults by being inclusive, encouraging connectedness, and instilling hope in the future. Listening, with non-judgmental ears, can also help, and contacting a professional is encouraged, at any point during the depression or anxiety phase.

“Last year, Specialized Crisis Services received more than 17,000 crisis calls with the majority pertaining to suicidal ideation and thoughts,” Raquel said. “Almost 10,000 of those calls resulted in face-to-face interventions and meetings.”

Youth Villages Specialized Crisis Services has specially trained, master’s level crisis counselors available 24/7 to respond to crisis calls. Crisis staff provide the assessment and evaluation of the child, connecting them with a mental health clinician to help determine the best course of action for the child.  Youth Villages will follow up with parents and providers within 24 hours of the initial crisis call.

Get help! Support services for teens in Middle Tennessee:

  • TN Crisis Hotline (855-CRISIS-1) or 1-855-274-7471
  • TN Crisis Text Line (Text TN to 741-741)
  • Youth Villages Specialized Crisis Hotline (1-866-791-9222)
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at

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