My child may be thinking about suicide

Rachel’s Challenge does not provide direct counseling or intervention services for students or parents. But some of our partners specialize in helping parents who think their children may be considering suicide. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you need immediate help –

1-800-273-8255

This is a free call and operates 24/7.

There are also some excellent online resources that can provide you lots of detailed information.

If you think your child is considering suicide, Click Here

One of the foremost causes of suicide among teens is depression. For more information on depression, Click Here

Many times children and teenagers do not fully understand the consequences of their actions. They really do not accept the finality of suicide. Real life is not like a video game that will start over if you lose a round. There are no “do-overs” with suicide.

 Most young people considering suicide believe “no one cares” or that “there are no other options” to their crisis or situation. These are responses to real feelings of pain in their lives. The pain they feel is real regardless of what has caused it. Children and teens often do not have adequate coping skills to process through life’s challenges. Adults can recognize the signs of young people struggling to cope with pain in their lives. Some people considering suicide show no abnormal behavior. But 75% will exhibit some of the following signs–

  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Feeling strong anger or rage
  • Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Acting impulsively
  • Losing interest in most activities
  • Experiencing a change in sleeping habits
  • Experiencing a change in eating habits
  • Losing interest in most activities
  • Losing interest in performing in school
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Feeling excessive guilt or shame
  • Acting recklessly

These actions can actually be expressions of “Help me.

Parents and concerned adults can compassionately engage their young person’s world by asking questions that indicate you do not know or understand what is causing their pain, but that you want the young person’s help to understand. Here are a few examples of questions that may help –

“I know I don’t ‘get it,’ but can you help me understand?”

“I see something is really hurting you. Maybe we could figure something out together.”

“Would you spend a few minutes helping me understand what’s going on that is hurting you so much?”

“I don’t have all the answers, but if you can share with me what’s causing this situation, maybe we can work it out together.”

School counselors are equipped to help you and your child. Many times they see and hear things that are not evident at home. Make an appointment with your child’s school counselor, and be completely honest about your concerns. There are steps a parent or concerned adult can take to help, and more often than not, it involves getting help from someone better trained to deal with these serious issues.

Above all, be alert. Reach out to your child, and reach out to get help for your child and yourself.

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