Suicide in Children & Teens
Child abuse and suicide among the young population is a serious and prevalent problem. Children who experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or neglect are at least two to three times more likely to attempt suicide in later life. Suicides by children could perhaps be one of the key indicators for the measurement of a nation’s emotional health.
Suicide is intentional self-harm that results in death. Among children between the ages of 10 and 19, suicide is the second leading cause of death,
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are the greatest predictors of suicide. These include frequent thoughts about ending one’s life, making plans, rehearsing or preparing for a suicide attempt, and attempting suicide.
What causes Child suicide?Childhood maltreatment linked to increased suicide behaviors among children, young adults.
There is no single factor that causes suicide or suicidal thoughts. Many Children & Teens who go through a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one, may feel intense sadness or loss, anxiety, and anger. Some may even think they would be better off dead. But for most people, stressful life events do not lead to recurring thoughts of suicide.
Yet for someone with mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety, stressful life events or prolonged stress can cause deep feelings of distress and hopelessness and increase the risk of suicide.
Impulsivity and substance abuse can also increase a child’s risk of suicide. However, mental health issues can be treated and most often do not lead to suicide.
The successively increasing number of suicides among children reflects a systemic failure, It is a collective responsibility of parents, families, neighbourhoods, and government at large to provide a conducive ecosystem where children can look forward to realizing their potential and fulfilling their dreams for a bright future. Committing suicide, on the contrary, is an antithesis.
Suicide risk factors
What are the warning signs of suicide?Children & Teens who attempt or die by suicide often exhibit a number of warning signs. A child or teenager who exhibits more warning signs is typically at higher risk of suicide.
Warning signs include:
What should I do if I think my child is at risk of suicide?One of the biggest aspects is the manifestation of power and intimidation when it comes to children, because culturally, we are not trained enough as parents to understand equality and equity when it comes to children.
You can start by talking with your child. Ask how they are doing and if they ever think of killing themselves. Be sure to use clear, straightforward language. Having regular conversations in which you show concern and give your child room to express their honest thoughts and feelings lets your child know that they can talk with you when they need to.
If your child expresses suicidal thoughts or exhibits self-harming behaviors, seek professional help through your pediatrician.
The mental health professional who assesses your child should work with you and your child to make sure your child receives appropriate care. Your child’s treatment may include inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, a partial hospitalization (day program), outpatient psychotherapy, home-based therapy, psychiatric medication, or some combination of the above.
It’s important to limit your child’s access to possible means of suicide: