What If Your Child Is Suicidal?

If you have a child or teenager in your home, you likely think about his or her physical wellbeing every day. Of course, your child's emotional and mental wellbeing may be just as important to you. All too many parents begin to see the signs of suicidal risk in their young children, and it can be frightening.

If you believe that your child or young adult may be at risk for suicide, you need to learn about the risks. You may be able to save your child's life. Are you not sure what will happen? This information will help you learn about suicide prevention.

Clinicians Will Praise Your Child

One of the first things a professional will do is praise your child for speaking about their feelings. The goal is to avoid shaming the child for feeling the way they do but rather to encourage him or her to speak openly about these feelings. Suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are all difficult to discuss, and professionals know this.

Clinicians Will Assess Your Child's Responses

Next, the clinician will ask a variety of questions that will give them more insight into your child's thoughts and feelings. They may ask some upfront questions such as, "In the last week, have you considered hurting yourself?" They will try to see how immediate and constant these kinds of thoughts are. They will ask your child if he or she has ever tried to make a plan to die by suicide.

Next, doctors will assess your child's history. They will examine injury and possibly past attempts to die by suicide. This is very important because past suicidal behavior is a strong indicator that future attempts may occur. Children may not have told their parents about previous attempts, but they may talk about them with a doctor.

Clinicians Will Assess Other Issues

Your child's clinician will also assess a variety of other issues your child may be dealing with in order to get a broad view of the matter. They may ask about symptoms like depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, isolation, sleeping, eating, and substance abuse. They also want to know more about the child's support network.

No matter whether you believe your child may be serious about their suicidal ideation, it is a good idea to talk about your concerns with a professional. Professionals are in the best position to determine the next steps.