Suicide Awareness and Prevention: How to be in the known
Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, of any age, of any background, at any time.
This is an issue that children and young people have to deal with, the same way adults do.
It can be difficult to know if a child is suffering as they often keep it to themselves. But what causes these morbid thoughts?
Suicide occurs when someone purposely takes his or her own life. A suicide attempt occurs when someone tries to take their own life but does not succeed.
The person who survives may have serious injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, and organ failure.
The survivor may also have depression or other mental health issues. While suicidal ideation occurs when someone is thinking about taking their life.
There are various internal and external factors that causes children to have suicidal thoughts.
Some children may feel like there is no hope and see ending their lives as the last resort to dealing with whatever situation they are going through.
Whilst thinking about suicide is relatively common, not every child or young person will actually attempt to take their own lives however, even having suicidal thoughts shows that someone is struggling and needs help and support.
It can be difficult to understand what causes suicidal feelings but they are often triggered by upsetting experiences such as living with mental illness, experiencing constant trauma and abuse, being bullied which is overly common these day, sorrow after losing a loved one or having very low self-esteem.
Depression and severe anxiety can have a serious role to play in the matter.
Everyone feels down sometimes, but depression is more than this.
Being depressed is more than just the ‘blues’. People with depression feel dejected for long stretches at a time – and this can be experienced children as well as adults.
Similar with anxiety; everyone feels nervous from time to time, but some people find it harder to control anxiety.
Children and young people can find it especially difficult to express their feelings and open up to others.
If they are suffering from depression they may feel like there is no hope and find it difficult to imagine ever being happy again.
Or, if they are highly anxious they may be even more worried about talking to someone about how they feel.
Mental health issues is not as taboo as it once was and matter of fact more people are now becoming aware of the reality and the severity of this however all children are different which means that the signs are also different but some of the most common signs of mental health problems in children include becoming withdrawn from friends and family, persistent low mood and unhappiness, worries that stop them from carrying out day to day tasks, sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others and loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy just to name a few.
According to the director of Psychology and Counselling at the National Council for Children (NCC) Gerard Lim-Sam, if a child shows up with certain suicide ideation, there is problem assessment that is carried out by the counsellor or psychologist to assess the frequency of thoughts to see how severe the matter may be.
However, the collection of reliable data on the number of suicidal attempts by children remains a challenge for NCC due to inadequate human resource, however the NCC offices remain open every day from 8am to 4pm to assist children and their families in talking things over and redirecting them to getting further professional help if required.
We need to make sure that every child has a place to turn to – night and day when the world gets overwhelming.
If your child is struggling with their mental health or having suicidal thoughts, it is bound to have a big effect on you and the whole family.
Discovering your child is feeling suicidal can feel quite overwhelming therefore it is important to make sure that you also get all the support you need from friends and family and professionals.