Parents Need to Know Warning Signs of Suicide

foggy dockAre you the mom or dad of a child who is struggling with depression?  Are you tormented not knowing if your child is safe or not – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless and their life doesn’t matter?  If so, this is for you. This information could be crucial for you and your child.

This information is from The National Suicide Prevention Hotline website. The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If your child exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves. Pay attention to this. Don’t ignore it. You never know when this is a genuine plea for help.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, hiding pills, obtaining a weapon or the key to your gun case (if you have guns in your home always keep them in a locked place).
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others. Repeatedly apologizing for this.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. (parents may only see hints of this)
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

A parent I know would add several additional warning signs to this list from their personal experience:

– A sudden, unexplainable change in typical behavior.

– Undecorating their bedroom – taking down favorite posters or pictures for no real reason.

– Giving away personal belongings – especially if it is something you know is important to them.

– Being more loving to friends or family members than usual – out of character for them. A little too nice to a sibling they always fight with.

If you have nagging doubts call a counselor immediately. If you don’t know of one to call then call the toll-free number listed above. At least you can talk with someone who is knowledgeable on this subject who can help you determine your next step. Don’t delay. You don’t want to have any regrets. The worst thing that could happen is that you were wrong and your child will be made at you. It won’t be the first time, or the last, right?

This calls for courageous love. You have to be willing to be the enemy for now. One day they will understand – they may even forgive you. But if not, you can be strong. You can take it, because your love is big enough and because you are willing to do anything you can to save them. They may even thank you for trying to help them.

Sadly, when a suicide occurs, family members and closest friends often say they never saw it coming. They were completely blind-sided. Hopefully, with this information that won’t happen to you. You can be proactive. At least you will have no regrets.

This Scripture verse is so encouraging: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!”  (Proverbs 3:56-6  The Message)

An excellent book on understanding suicide by a woman who has struggled with this herself is: Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison.

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