As discussed in a prior article part 1, children do have thoughts of suicide and DO act upon those thoughts. What do you need to pay attention to? How do children know about suicide? What can YOU do?
What do you need to pay attention to is a big question and depends on different variables such as age, maturity, external influences, prior losses, prior attempts at suicide, mental and emotional mind set, the list can go on.
Some potential signs to be aware of are; child isolating them self, giving away items, overly affectionate with you or others, writing a will, saying their last good bye that may not be construed as such at the time, no sense of belonging or feeling wanted, and possibly an I don’t care attitude.
You may wonder how children know about suicide. Schools, families, social media, books, television programs, the news or overhearing a conversation may contribute to a child’s suicide awareness.
The topic of suicide may arise if a classmate, friend or relative dies by suicide or attempts suicide. Do not be fooled by the thought that my child wouldn’t do such a thing. That is exactly the attitude that causes you to miss the signs.
Children have access to computers and can easily find resources and information on any topic, if they want to. If you feel, get a second sense or suspect your child is susceptible to suicide thoughts get help. Open the conversation or have someone else do it for you.
Be supportive not confrontational. Provide resources, counselling, or whatever is needed. If one avenue doesn’t work, try another one. The Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 is staffed 24-7 and also has a website with specific information for kids and teens on different concerns not only suicide thoughts. http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/Home.aspx , www.grievingstudents.org firstname.lastname@example.org
All my best,
Barbara J. Saunders