How to Deal With the Suicidal Child

The problem of child suicide continues to grow and the lives of many young people aged from 10 upwards will be lost to this tragic event. In the United States alone, suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers and the fourth leading cause of death in pre-teens.

In countries where guns are readily available, this is generally the method used in suicide. However, if they are not easy to access, these youngsters often resort to poisoning or hanging.

Unsuccessful suicide attempts are far more common. It is estimated that for about 300 attempted suicides, there is one successful suicide.

If children suffer from depression, they are much more likely to attempt suicide than other children. Almost a quarter of depressed children will attempt to end their life. It is also a high possibility in children who have a substance abuse problem such as drugs or paint or glue sniffing.

The risk is also increased where there is a family history of suicide and where weapons are easily accessible. If a child has an obsession with thoughts of death they are more liable to make a serious suicide attempt or complete suicide.
Despite the common belief that a child's suicide attempt is a way of getting attention, it is believed that this is the case in only 10 percent of cases. Around two thirds of children who attempt suicide genuinely want to die or escape a seemingly impossible situation. It is very hard to predict the likelihood of suicide, especially in children and teenagers.

Firstly, it may help to try to understand suicidal thoughts. It's quite common for a child or teen to have thoughts of suicide but no plan on how they would go about it. The main concern is if the child has made prior attempts at suicide, is depressed, or is cynical. This is when they are more likely to be thinking seriously about suicide.

If the child or teen has a plan, it means that they are thinking seriously about suicide and have a plan on how to do it.
Having attempted suicide means that the child or teen has actually tried to fatally harm themselves. The repercussions of the act may be physical or psychological. Sometimes the person will feel that he/she is a failure and can't even 'get it right' when they try to kill themselves.

At other times, the attempt to take their own life may be done on impulse and is often the result of a break up in a relationship.

If you are the parent or friend of a child considering suicide, there are things you can do to help him/her manage these thoughts and behavior.

1. Take the child's threats seriously

Pay attention if the child is expressing a wish to die. It may mean nothing but it means that, at the very least, this child needs someone to talk to.

2. Talk about suicide

If the child is depressed, they may be considering suicide and these thoughts wont miraculously disappear by ignoring the subject. Don't be frightened to ask a depressed child if they are considering suicide.

3. Get help

If a child is thinking suicidal thoughts or has made an attempt to harm themselves, they need professional help. Often, they may have a psychiatric disorder that has not been identified and treated.

4. Don't leave a suicidal child alone

If the child is considering suicide or has attempted suicide and has a plan, you need to watch them until a professional assessment is done. This can be very exhausting for all concerned but it is necessary.

5. Don't be manipulated

There are some children or teens who may use talk of suicide to manipulate others so that they can get what they want. This often happens if a relationship or friendship breaks up. The person may threaten suicide if the partner wants out of the relationship.

6. Lock up anything that can be used to suicide
It is imperative that you lock away any firearms, medications, ropes or anything else that may be a risk. You even need to lock away razors and knives.

These actions may make a difference in the outcome for the suicidal child or teenager.