As painful as it is to consider, abundant data tells us that childhood suicide is a reality. My heart aches as I process this information. Children should be immune to the kind of pain that would prompt a suicide solution. Unfortunately for us all, children are not immune to extreme bouts of mental and emotional pain. Most of the data and research deals with preteen and teenage children, who are being bullied or are having relationship problems of one sort or another, often with their peers. Almost all of these preteen and teenage children suffer from depression and/or anxiety as well. More recently, studies have begun of children 5-11 years of age who commit suicide. Can you even begin to imagine that a five year old could be in that much pain, let alone know how to carry out the action of taking his/her own life?
Yes, there is a lot of data on childhood suicides, but more important for this writing is the information about how to detect and treat the causes that lead to thoughts and acts of suicide by very young children. It is critical for parents to understand the signs that appear when a child is having extreme emotional problems and considering suicide, and to know how to support them and get help for them.
According to an article in Psychology Today, if you notice changes in a child’s behavior such as in sleeping patterns, eating habits, or socialization patterns, take action to delve deeper to find out what is going on with your child. Experts in this field say that parents should not be afraid to talk to their children about suicide. According to the experts, ask direct questions about your child’s thoughts regarding suicide, and talk openly about whether or not your child is considering this as a solution to his/her emotional pain. Parents should not hesitate to discuss the permanency of suicide with their children. Some young children do not understand that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Contact the child’s physician and let them know what is going on. Contact a child psychologist and make an appointment for the child. Spend enjoyable time with the child. Reassure your child that he/she is very precious to you and you are always there to help them work out a positive solution to their issues.
It is very important to take any expression by your child about suicide absolutely seriously. Your child is suffering and needs help.