Of course there is probably an age at which it needs to be handled differently. I will leave that to those experts but I would think that 11 and under is where you might seek guidance from a professional on how to approach the subject.
Suicide will continue to stalk our kids, our teens and our young adults if we keep turning our backs on it.
Already, it is the number one cause of death for college students in the US. It’s the number 2 cause of death for those 15-25.
So how did suicide get such a promotion?
I think that our silence due to stigma has left our children and our friends to think they have no other way out. That we don’t want to hear what they have to say because what’s inside their souls is too ugly to hear.
You might think that talking about suicide gives someone the idea.
But studies have shown that talking about it doesn’t cause someone to follow through with a plan. In fact it does the opposite by putting it out there in the open, making it seem less like a viable option.
And let’s face it, we don’t talk about it and suicide rates have gone up 60% in the last 45 years. So maybe we can reverse things by being open about it.
At least twenty percent of high school students think about suicide at some point. Depression is the cause of suicide 90% of the time. So obviously if your child is diagnosed with depression you must have that conversation.
If your child talks about suicide a lot–about movie stars, relatives, people he or she has heard about, this is a red flag. I can’t say what the suicide signs are for everybody but here’s what I noticed with my son.
So how do you talk about it?
In a non-threatening way.
You have to keep your emotions in check and not flip out. And that goes for after the conversation if you didn’t hear what you wanted. If you call a child constantly after a suicide conversation telling them you are so worried they were dead because they were 10 minutes late, it’s likely they won’t open up again. That’s flipping out.
Naturally you’d want to follow up by encouraging them to get support in the form of a counselor or psychiatrist.
It does come up in the media and that would be a natural time to talk about it. If a relative or friend dies by suicide, you could start the conversation then. If your child happens to be talking about it, you need to listen and join in that conversation.
Listen more. Ask questions. Get their opinion.
Never say it’s a selfish act
It’s not. People who get to that point in their lives, simply do not see any other way out which is typically the result of a chemical imbalance in their brain.
If we want people to reach out, we have to be willing to talk. If you don’t want to be in the club no one wants to be in, you need to talk.
Suicide is not the conversation you want to bury.