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Talking to Your Children Regarding Depression & Suicide

In Health

Being a parent, you obviously want and desire the best for your kids. You work hard every day to shield them against harm. At times that work indicates you have to have certain difficult, often painful conversations- encompassing ones related to suicide.

Discussing with your child regarding suicide can be the most difficult aspect of your life that you ever had, but it may also be the most essential.

Why it’s essential to discuss about depression and suicide

Suicide is considered as the second leading cause of death for children between ages 10-19 years.

  • Nearly 1 out every 6 high school students has already considered suicide in the past year.
  • Depression and suicide have an impact on people of every religious background, every race, as well as income level.
  • Children must know the warning indications or signs of depression and suicide and how to obtain help if needed.
  • Most children who attempt suicide have signs of depression.

Parents have a crucial role in educating their kids regarding the significance of taking care of their mental health similar to their physical health. As early as possible the issue of mental health is recognized, the sooner efficient treatment and recovery can begin.

Research shows that discussing about suicide does not give your kid ideas about trying it or boost the risk of a suicide attempt in the future. Rather it shows your child that you’re concerned and want to help.

Even if your kid is not depressed, it’s essential to have direct conversations regarding mental health and as in how friends may be dealing with these issues. Few of the following are good ways to begin a conversation:

  • Did you ever feel sad or lonely? What do you do to make yourself feel better?
  • Did you or your friends ever discuss about causing harm to yourselves or not up to standard to live anymore?
  • How would you manage it if you knew someone who was talking about harming themselves?

If your kid has been imagining about suicide, he/she will be thankful that you discussed about the topic. It’s important that you ask directly regarding depression and suicide if you witness any of the following warning signs:

  • Increase use of alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling down or hopeless
  • Stopping normal activities
  • Major changes in sleep, activity level or eating
  • Suddenly giving away possessions
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Obsession with suicide or dying in drawing, writing or online activity
  • Making comments with respect to “wanting to be dead” or being a “problem” to others
  • Looking for the ways to kill oneself or discussing a suicide plan

How to begin a conversation

If your kid makes a remark about harming himself/herself or not good enough to live, always consider them seriously. Begin with these watchwords to understand what he or she is feeling:

  • What is wrong? How can I help?
  • At times children feel so miserable or distressed that they feel like harming themselves. Are you going through something like that?
  • Are you thinking about killing yourself?
  • You can always discuss with me about how you feel. We’ll get through this together.

By discussing about suicide, you let your kid know you’re there for support and are open to any kind of discussion regarding any topic, irrespective of how restless it is.

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