News reports of bullying suicides by children and young adults continue to climb. And a new report sheds light on this scary trend, finding that bullying victims are more than twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and actions than other children.
So how can parents tell if there child is at risk for committing suicide? Here are seven signs every parent needs to look for:
- A loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Appearing to feel hopeless
- Changes in appetite
- Increasing isolation from friends or family
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Writing or talking about death/dying
- Mentioning suicide
What should be done?
While the presence of any of these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that a child is contemplating suicide, it does mean that it is time for parents to step in and talk directly with their child.
Sitting down with the child and asking them to talk about it will be difficult for both parent and child, but often the warning signs are a cry for help. What that child needs is someone who will listen openly and not judge them.
Parents should find out if the child has a plan in place for committing suicide. If there is a time, place and means of suicide in mind, immediate action is required.
When to get help
Seek professional help right away, keep dangerous objects (including chemicals, medications, drugs/alcohol) away from the child and don’t leave them unsupervised.
If these details aren’t yet thought through, the situation is still very serious and should not be taken lightly. It may also mean seeking professional help or removing them from their current school.
Bullying suicides are a tragic result of harassment by peers. If parents, educators and friends know the warning signs to look for, it may be possible to prevent more tragedies.