Children and Thoughts of Suicide

Children and thoughts of suicide is a topic many, including myself, find disturbing. You may ask yourself “Why would a child have thoughts of suicide”? Are there no support systems? Where are the parents?

There is never a shortage of questions. I do not have all of the answers. At this time, I am sharing concerns, asking YOU the adult to pay close attention to the children; their life may depend upon it.

Children may have thoughts of suicide for a variety of reasons. The experienced pain and suffering after a loss in their life such as the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend or other special person whom they are closely connected to. Do not overlook the effect of the loss or death of a pet.

Death losses are not the only forms of loss children experience. Consider divorce, separation, relocating from extended family, moving to a different school away from friends, prolonged illness, and more.

Other concerns children may have are with being bullied, being perceived as “different” than their peers for a multitude of reasons, having a mental illness such as struggling with depression or anxiety, maybe both. The point is, children feel, have fears and concerns, perhaps not exactly the same as adults, but as real for them as it is for an adult.

Part of the problem is they are children and do not have effective coping tools.  Who ever thinks of talking to children about mental health concerns, suicide and more?  Many years ago, this was not a topic of conversation.

Yes, suicides happened in the past, but they were also something hidden from others.  Some people felt it was a disgrace to the family; therefore, something to be ashamed of.  Adding to this is how some religious doctrines condemned suicide persons.

Is there more openness now? I sure hope so!

As an adult you may not notice the signs a child is having suicidal thoughts. In many cases the child hides their true feelings from adults. The odd time you might hear comments such as, “I don’t want to live anymore”, “What’s the use…no one cares about me”.

I know you may have heard these comments and not paid much attention to them. Children are dying by suicide, even those in grade school. Children are struggling being in society and trying to live up to expectations in a confusing world.


All my best,

Barbara Gillett Saunders

Grief Counsellor/Thanatologist