Family guide to youth suicide prevention

We have put together this information to support parents of young people who may be at risk of suicide. These pages will help you to be aware of the warning signs and risk factors of suicide so that you will be able to identify these signs in young people and help them find support.

Most suicidal young people don’t want to die, they are usually experiencing extreme distress and/or unbearable pain and can’t think of another way to cope. With support they can find better ways to manage their distress and get through the crisis.

Youth suicide

Youth suicide is a problem that affects families every day in Australia. It is the leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15-24 years.1 Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, income and family background, however some young people are more likely to engage in self-harm and suicidal behaviour.

Although the suicide rates for young people have been decreasing by and large over the past 20 years, we have seen a more recent increase and we are still losing too many young people to suicide each year in Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported that intentional self-harm is the leading cause of death among Australian children and young people aged 15-24 years, with around 361 people aged between 15 and 24 dying by suicide in 2014.2

Although these are startling numbers, what is even more concerning is what we don’t know. Research reports that in this age group for every one suicide there are approximately 100-200 suicide attempts.3

Although these numbers are alarming, the good news is that youth suicide is mostly preventable.

Too many precious young lives are lost or damaged by intentional self-harm and suicide. It has profound impacts on families and communities.

          Megan Mitchell, National Children's Commissioner

Get immediate support

If you are concerned that your young person might attempt suicide it is important to act immediately. 

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000. 

To talk to someone now call

Lifeline 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467


Content on these pages was developed with funding from Norton by Symantec.

Written content developed with thanks to: Gryglewicz, K., Ojeda, D., Elzy, M., Brown, R., Kutash, K., & Karver, M. (2014). It’s time to talk about it: A family guide for youth suicide prevention efforts. [Brochure], Tampa, FL

Video adapted from Mayo Clinic’s “Preventing Teen Suicide” video with permission from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

1. For a full list of references for the statistics on this page, and any others across the website, please visit the references page and search through the relevant category.