JUNE 7, 2017 WINDER Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith talks about the investigation into the suicide of a 9-year-old boy in May. In less than two months, 14 children in Georgia have killed themselves, a disturbing number that suggests a record. KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Warning signs of suicide and resources for help

Experts say there are often warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.

Those signs take on even more importance if they come at times of stress, such as the death or suicide of a friend or relative, a recent break up, a conflict with parents, suicides by young people in the same school or community or big life changes.

“It’s really important in times like this, when people are worried, that they ask the questions of the young people,” said Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education in Bloomington Minn., including when it is a friend of their child’s. “Make it okay for them to come and say, ‘I’m okay but my friend isn’t.’ It’s about conversation.”

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He said parents should help children understand that “struggles and adversities and challenges” are part of life and in most cases they will get through those times.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the risk of suicide increases if guns are readily available, the youth is impulsiveness or prone to take risks or if the child is isolated with little or no connection to friends or family.

In less than two months, 14 children in Georgia have killed themselves, a disturbing number that suggests a record.

Possible signs of suicide to watch for include:

• A previous suicide attempt

• Talk of suicide or making a plan

• A strong wish to die or preoccupation with death

• Giving away possessions

• Moodiness, hopelessness or withdrawal

• Changes in social activity or sleep

• An increase in anger or hostility

• Increased alcohol or drug use

• Hinting at not being around or saying ‘good-bye’

There are several resources for information or help. Some of them are:

• Georgia Crisis and Access Line — 1 (800) 715-4225 or http://www.georgiacollaborative.com/gcal.html

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1 (800) 273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

• Talking points about the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why” — https://www.save.org/13-reasons-why/

• School counselors

• Your pediatrician or family physician

And if you believe someone’s life to be in imminent danger, call 911 right away.

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